Police stage reconstruction of RUC officer’s murder in Derry city centre

Police have staged a reconstruction of the 1993 killing of a Catholic RUC officer in Derry city centre.

Tuesday, 22nd January 2019, 1:05 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 6:29 pm
Reconstruction showing armed gunman approaching the policeman.

The recreation was staged on Shipquay Street on Sunday, a day after police launched a new appeal for anyone with information about the killing of Michael Ferguson. The 21-year-old from Omagh was one of three police officers responding to a report of shoplifting at the Richmond Centre at around 2pm on Saturday 23, 1993 - 26 years ago tomorrow. Constable Ferguson had been covering his colleagues as they went inside a shop to investigate when he was approached from behind by a lone IRA gunman and shot twice in the head at point blank range. At a press conference at Strand Road PSNI Station on Saturday ahead of the reconstruction, the detective leading the murder investigation issued a fresh appeal for those with information to come forward.Several local people came and tried to render assistance to Michael Ferguson as he lay dying on Shipquay Street , Detective Inspector Conor Sweeney from the PSNI’s Legacy Investigation Branch said.“I like to think that the fact that he didn’t die alone; that some people did try to help him, may provide some small crumb of comfort to the family and it also shows the majority of people in this country did not support those actions and would have been rightly appalled by it.”He said detectives were pursuing whether the Catholic officer was specifically targeted or whether it was a crime of opportunity. “It was the third time they had been to the Richmond Centre that day, on each occasion providing a service to businesses within Richmond Centre, “ he noted. “It was cold, it was calculated, it was callous. Even against the backdrop of an horrendous period in our history, I think the callousness stands out. Such a young man, fresh faced look of innocence about him, and for somebody to walk up, not even look him in the eye, approach him from behind, and snuff out that young life in a blink of an eye, it was truly horrific and the family of Michael have never, and I believe will never, get over that.”Det. Insp. Sweeney made a direct appeal to those behind the killing to examine their conscience and come forward. “One of the lines of inquiry we’re following is that the perpetrator was a very young man himself at the time. I don’t know where that individual is in his life now. He may have children, he may be married. Does he go to bed at night and sometimes see Michael’s face when he closes his eyes? That young man himself may be looking back and thinking different and reflect on his actions. If that is the case, I ask him again to search his conscience and come forward and do the right thing. It is never too late.”Detective Inspector Conor Sweeney, from the PSNI’s Legacy Investigation Branch, confirmed that the investigation into the 1993 killing of the Catholic police constable was being revisited as a result of fresh lines of inquiry and new techniques available today that were not available at the time. Det. Insp. Sweeney said Legacy Investigation Branch was following a number of definite lines of inquiry. “I believe we are close to bringing criminal justice action against those responsible,” he said. “I’m here to appeal to the local people of Derry, especially those who were on Shipquay Street at the time of the murder. The gunman did not have his face covered and was wearing a distinctive green jacket with the word ‘gasoline’ printed on the back. I believe there are people within Derry who witnessed this murder. I believe there are people who know the identity of the gunman.”Commenting on the current investigation, Det. Insp. Sweeney said: “This investigation has been reviewed in light of modern policing techniques, methods and technologies. One of the reasons we progressing the investigation is because that review has revealed definite lines of inquiry that can and will be progressed. But police cannot do this alone, we do not police in a vacuum, we rely on and need the help of the local community.”

Reconstruction showing armed gunman approaching the policeman.
RUC officer Michael Ferguson