Thursday, June 17, 2010

Northumbria Police Martin McGartland and No charges even after 11 years

Renewed appeal over shooting.

Dated: 17 Jun 2010

Northumbria Police

Police officers investigating the attempted murder of a man over a decade ago have renewed their appeal for information.

Martin McGartland was shot as he sat in his car in Duchess Street, Whitley Bay, 11 years ago today.

Despite being shot a number of times at close range, Mr McGartland survived the attack on June 17, 1999.

Although a number of arrests have been made, nobody has ever been charged with the attempted murder, and an extensive investigation is continuing.

Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Thomson, who is leading the investigation, said: "Although this was an unsuccessful attack, it was a cold-blooded, calculated murder attempt which caused Mr McGartland serious injuries.

"Our main line of enquiry continues to be that Mr McGartland may have been shot by a person or people with Irish Republican sympathies, for reasons closely linked to his former life in Northern Ireland.

"Mr McGartland's history as an agent for the then Royal Ulster Constabulary and his supplying of information about the Provisional IRA is a matter of public knowledge, documented in his own books on the subject."

Detectives are continuing to use DNA recovered from the scene to eliminate people from the investigation.

Other lines of enquiry centre around a van abandoned at the scene which had been bought only two days before the attack, and a message left on a telephone answering machine a few days earlier, asking about a van for sale. The caller had a Scottish accent, originating from somewhere in the Glasgow region.

Two semi-automatic pistols and some ammunition were found in the Gateshead area within months of the attack. One of the guns was forensically linked to the shooting and police believe those responsible may have stayed in the Gateshead area in the run up to the attack and possibly afterwards. This is another line of enquiry.

Det Chief Supt Thomson added: "Although nothing substantial came out of last year's appeal, which marked the 10th anniversary of the incident, we are determined to make sure that anyone who may have any information about this attack has the opportunity to come forward.

"Over time, word can leak out and be talked about. People's loyalties can change a lot in eleven years, and people may now be prepared to help us - it's a long time for people to keep silent about something like this.

"Anyone who may have information can contact Northumbria Police on 03456 043 043, ext 69191 or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."

Police still have an audio tape message left on a telephone answering machine a few days before the shooting by a man who is believed to be one of those involved in the attack. The caller was asking about the sale of a van which was similar to that used to conceal the gunman immediately before the shooting.

To hear this tape again, log on to