In a Freedom of Information request made by Andrew Lownie, the respected historican and biographer, the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) has confirmend that at least six files relating to The Kincora Boys’ Home in Belfast between 1981 – 1983 were destroyed between 2010 and 2015.


The Kincora Boys’ Home was subject to investigation by the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA) between May and July 2016. The HIA was announced in 2010. It was legislated for in 2011. Its Terms of Reference were agreed in 2012. Its work commenced in 2014.


It is unclear why the NIO would have files destroyed which would have been subject to scrutiny by the HIA.


Files were destroyed between October and December 2010. December 2010 was the month in which the HIA was announced following the publication of the Ryan Commission Report into historic institutional sexual abuse in the Irish Republic in 2009. It was the publication of the Ryan Report that prompted politicians at Stormont to annouce the HIA. Files were then destroyed in August 2015, June 2015 and October 2015 – as the HIA was conducting its investigations.


The files all relate to Kincora and included the Report of Sir George Terry, Chief Constable of Sussex to Sir John Hermon, Chief Constable of the RUC.


KRW LAW LLP represents Richard Kerr who is bringing a civil claim against the authorities responsible for Kincora where he was abused. As part of the process of this litigtaion Richard Kerr would have sought all files held by the state relating to Kincora by way of discovery – it is clear that key files have been destroyed even when an independent statutory inquiry was underway.


On behalf of Richard Kerr, KRW LAW LLP will be writing to NIO to seek clarification and explanation and to ensure that no further files relating to Kincora and other institutions held by NIO are destroyed.


Kevin Winters, Senior Partner of KRW LAW LLP, commented:


“There remain far too many questions around The Kincora Boys’ Home. Our client Richard Kerr is seeking information by way of a civil action. It now transpires that documents – including the Terry Report – were destroyed by the British government even as the HIA was being established and working. There must be an explanation for this. Otherwise, victims of abuse in Northern Ireland, will continue to doubt the integrity of state agencies in confronting this particular aspect of the Legacy of the Past”