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Police quietly close investigation into attempted murder of officer

BBC Local Democracy has learned an investigation into the alleged attempted murder of a police officer at his County Fermanagh home last year has quietly closed and a male arrested in the aftermath is no longer suspected of involvement.

There was widespread condemnation of the incident which occurred during the early hours of 2 January 2020 in Kesh, when it was claimed a male dressed entirely in black confronted the officer at his front door.

The alarm was raised when the officer noticed movement outside his home, and on opening the door to check, was met by the masked male pointing a shotgun directly at him.

It was claimed the gun failed to fire and the male fled on foot over fields in the direction of a football club.

Police attended the scene and suggested: “Organised criminal elements may be responsible”.

Within hours a Detective Chief Inspector confirmed a thirty-seven-year-old male had been arrested.

She told a news conference the: “We firmly believe that this disturbing incident was a failed attempt to kill a local police officer. There are no words to describe those who would creep through the dark of night with nothing but death and destruction on their minds. Their actions stand in stark contrast to those officers, including their intended target, who everyday police our communities with dignity, respect and courtesy.”

Assuring the investigation would be “thorough and robust”, the detective added police were keeping an open mind as to the motivation behind the attack, however a primary line of inquiry was that organised criminal elements may have been responsible.

However after a very short time in custody the male was released on bail pending further enquiries.

It is understood no firearm was discovered.

After more than a year with no updates or mention of the alleged incident, the PSNI were asked to comment on the status of the case.

A spokesperson said: “Enquires in relation to the attempted murder investigation have concluded and the matter closed pending any further evidence. The man arrested on 2 January 2020 following this incident is no longer a subject of this investigation.”

It is unclear when a decision was taken to close down the investigation or to remove the bail terms placed on the arrested male.

While it was not disclosed what has occurred in this matter, it understood the police officer in question had been leading an investigation into an alleged instance of perverting the course of justice.

That matter, involving a 38-year-old male is progressing through the court system, although the officer has since been replaced.

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