A new investigation is to be launched by the Police Ombudsman into the killing of Colum Marks by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) in Downpatrick, County Down. The Police Ombudsman has said he will launch an investigation into the circumstances of the killing. He took the action after receiving new information from the family’s lawyers, KRW LAW LLP.


‘Shoot-to-kill’: The RUC officer who fired the shots said he believed Colum Marks was armed, and claimed he refused to stop when an attempt was made to arrest him. The RUC had prior intelligence that the IRA were planning to launch a mortar attack on a police patrol and were lying in wait when the IRA unit arrived.


Gavin Booth of KRW LAW LLP said


“The advance knowledge police had about the attack meant they should have been in a position to arrest him without opening fire. The police claimed Colum Marks ignored a number of warnings to stop and was shot because it was feared he posed a threat. No gun nor explosive residue was ever found on Colum Marks, supporting claims that he was shot after being arrested. An eyewitness has now come forward and supported these claims”.


KRW LAW LLP, which represents the family, had been taking legal action in a bid to compel the Police Ombudsman, Michael Maguire, to investigate the circumstances of the killing. The Police Ombudsman had previously said he could not do so because the RUC had already investigated the shooting. The eyewitness has said that on the night of the shooting he saw a man, believed to have been Colum Marks, being escorted along a street under police guard. He said it was clear the man was under arrest, and that three RUC officers were with him. That completely contradicts the police version of events.


“This new information fundamentally undermines the police account of what happened,” said Gavin Booth. “It supports the family’s claim that Colum was shot after being arrested. This was clearly a shoot-to-kill operation. Serious questions remain unanswered around the murder of Colum Marks. This is another step forward in this process. Last month we welcomed the decision by the PPS to review the decision not to prosecute the officer who murdered Colum Marks.”



Contact:  Gavin Booth



Third Floor, The Sturgen Building
9-15 Queen Street
Belfast Co Antrim BT1 6EA


Tel: 028 9024 1888
Fax: 028 9024 4804