The family of the last Catholic civilian shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries in has accused police of being more interested in protecting informers than finding their son's killers.
Gerard Lawlor was murdered in north Belfast on 22 July 2002 on his way home from a night out in a local pub. A loyalist terror group, the Ulster Freedom Fighters (a cover name for the UDA), later admitted responsibility.
Launching a report on Thursday, 10 years after the murder, the family's solicitors allege the police ignored eyewitness evidence which came to their attention after the shooting. It was the first sectarian murder investigated by the newly formed Service of Northern Ireland.
The report claims that on the night of the killing the PSNI "failed to take preventative measures" as there had been at least four attempts by a UFF unit operating in north Belfast to shoot Catholics in the area. The killing spree started in the north of the city after a Protestant man had been attacked earlier that evening.
The inquiry into the Lawlor murder, released in Belfast , said it had found "serious deficiencies" in the way several investigations, including one by the police ombudsman, had been carried out.
On the role of a crucial eyewitness, the report concluded: "An anonymous witness, known as Witness X, told the PSNI she had seen two men burning a car and heard them boasting about Gerard Lawlor's murder in Cave Hill country park on the night of the murder. The burned-out car was recovered, corroborating her evidence, but she was ignored."