Hamill Inquiry begins public hearings

Eleven years after his sectarian murder, the Robert Hamill Inquiry has begun public hearings in Belfast. The Portadown catholic was beaten to death by loyalists in Portadown only a matter of yards from an RUC land rover, which contained four armed RUC officers. One of those officers, Robert Atkinson, has been accused of colluding with one of the suspects, telling him about the progress of the investigation and advising him to get rid of his clothes. The Inquiry also heard that the RUC had evidence within days of the murder that the officer concerned had protected one of the killers from prosecution.
Atkinson was eventually charged in relation to a conspiracy arising out of the alleged tip-offs that he gave the loyalist, but he was never prosecuted.
The Hamill family’s original solicitor, Rosemary Nelson, was murdered by loyalists amid further allegations of State collusion with loyalists in the area, a murder which is also the subject of an on-going Inquiry.

  • sean

    Wont hold my breath on Roberts family getting the truth they deserve,too many people and “the powers that be” working against them.

  • LURIG

    I agree with sean. If it’s anything like the Saville enquiry it will get bogged down in a maze of legal jargon and obscure points of order. Also like Saville it will get dragged out for years so as not to have any negative affect on the Peace Process and so as not to annoy Unionists. If the Hamill family are hoping for justice or a quick enquiry they will sadly be disappointed. Unfortunately people will also take sides down the normal sectarian lines. Nationalists know what happened and that the truth will probably never come out while Unionists will bury their heads because Robert was an innocent Catholic. Now if Robert Hamill had been kicked to death by Republicans it would be a different story. Unionists would be falling over themselves demanding the truth and threatening to collapse the Peace Process while pressure would be put on Sinn Fein.

  • Modernist

    I remeber another very similar incident occured on woodhouse street in portadown where police stayed parked at one end of the street while loyalists battered a catholic less than 50 yards away. UTV showed the cctv clip of the incident if anyone has the link

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    This whole murder case of what happened to Robert Hamill is awful. Very similar to the Robert McCarthy murder case of where an innocent man was set upon and murdered, it is incredible that there was not the same public outcry. Such a case as this invokes memories of the bad old days of Northern Ireland, ie police collusion, cover-ups, denial etc…

    I am also surprised that there are not more posts on this subject here!

    Surely all members of NI society find this gruesome murder case rather suspicious.

  • William

    £19m already spent….£17m estimated still to be spent…No wonder Malachy O’Doherty speaking on Talkback today, was scathing as to why such an incident need 30,000 documents. As he said he, a crowd attack a guy, he dies as a result….where do the 30k pieces of paper come from. He went on to say that even with 273 statements from ‘witnesses’ he reckoned that he could have got by with 300 papers.

    What a waste of money….another Inquiry given to Sinn Fein to get terrorists into Government.

    When are the people killed by McGuinness and Adams going to have an Inquiry?

  • LURIG

    Billy boy, your intensive bigotry has no boundaries. Do you fantasise and hope for F-16 jets flying into Andytown and Dublin to teach the rebel Fenians a good hard lesson? You would give it to them good and hard wouldn’t you? Bet you were foaming at the Robert Hamill headlines on the BBC & Telegraph? I can almost hear your cries of anguish and punching the walls now. You need to get out more.

  • Ri Na Deise

    Yet more proof the sectarian state and its institutions are rotten to the core.

  • sean

    William, i am from Portadown and know the Hamill family quite well. This was not, as you hoped it would be, a plot to get S.F into government. The Hamill family have been fighting for years themselves to get this going, and i hope they can get some sort of closure, although i wont hold my breath. Is it so wrong to find out why your son/brother/dad was killed and the forces of law and order sat and watched, then tried to cover everything up?

  • Cat Number 5

    What is the point of the inquiry? If the posters here are a reflection of nationalist opinion it seems that minds are already made up.

    If the police response is vindicated or their actions on the night mitigated that will amount to a cover-up to some. If the more vocal in society are already convinced that the police are guilty what is the point?

    People already have their ‘truth’ so the whole inquiry exercise, i.e. ‘establishing the truth’, is futile.

    Or is really all about continuing the bitterness of the conflict by other means?

  • Blue Hammer

    Mr Hamill’s death was a crime, an unjustifiable crime, but i cannot see the merit in spending so much money on an enquiry to find a “truth” that everyone pretty much accepts anyway.

    In summary:

    Loyalist mob pounces on man they suspect/know to be a catholic;

    Police look on, either malevolently or through oversight, or maybe with the hope that it was “just” a good non=fatal kicking;

    Innocent man dies;

    Police Officer involved keeps mates/perpetrators informed of enquiry progress.

    All totally wrong. Totally unjustifiable. But not redeemed by throwing £40m at it for a contentious report stating some or all of the above.

    One wonders what the criteria are for deserving an enquiry, as the families of many other victims have no such access to state funded grief counselling on such an obscene scale.

  • I would suggest that the criterion of investigating the brutal murder of Robert Hamill was drawing the name of so many similarly killed out of a hat, so the covert murders of the highest state-involvement and importance, especially those of Patrick Finucane, Billy Wright, Rosemary Nelson, Bob Buchanan and Harry Breen, would just be seen as the result of more sectarian mayhem.