Inquiry into 1974 murder starts again

Detectives in Northern Ireland have launched a fresh investigation into the murder of a police officer shot in a bank raid nearly 40 years ago.

Inspector Bill Elliott was driving on his own when he heard news that a robbery was under way at the Ulster Bank in the Rathcoole area of Belfast in September 1974.

The 48-year-old, who was married with a son, raced to the scene and died after a shoot-out with republicans from the Official IRA who detectives said were armed with two submachine guns and a pistol.

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Inspector Elliott was posthumously awarded the Queen’s Police Medal.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Serious Crime Branch revealed it has now reopened the case after a review of the killing by the police Historical Enquiries Team found potential new leads.

The team is re-examining killings from the Troubles.

Detective Superintendent Jonathan Roberts said: “Certainly there are new lines of inquiry opening up to us and developing. It’s an overall reassessment of the case.” He added: “I don’t wish to discuss specific new lines of inquiry because they are active lines of inquiry.”