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Former daily reporter vows to fight for truth over helicopter crash 30 years on

A former regional daily journalist has vowed to keep fighting for the truth three decades on from a helicopter crash which killed 29 people.

David Walmsley was the most junior reporter on the Belfast Telegraph when he covered the Mull of Kintyre tragedy, which claimed the lives of 25 passengers and four crew about a Chinook Mk2 on the evening of 2 June 1994.

Among the passengers were some of the most senior Northern Ireland intelligence officers at the time.

A Royal Air Force investigation initially blamed the “gross negligence” of the two pilots, Richard Cook and Jonathan Tapper, but it was later revealed there were safety concerns about the Chinook Mk2 aircraft and the pair were cleared after a long campaign by the families of the victims and others.

David Walmsley

David, who was named Northern Ireland’s Young Journalist of the Year in 1995, partially for his investigative work into the crash, has now shared his desire for the full truth to come out about the crash and subsequent investigation after appearing in a BBC documentary marking three decades since the tragedy.

David, pictured, who is now editor-in-chief of The Globe and Mail in Canada and deputy president of the World Editors Forum, aired his thoughts in a piece for his old newpaper, the Bel Tel.

He wrote in a piece for the Bel Tel: “With the passage of time, there remain those in England who have information about the crash who have stayed silent.

“It is my hope that after watching the documentary they will feel, in retirement, enough time has passed and the truth shall out.

“Malcolm Rifkind, who was the Defence Secretary at the time of the crash, says in the documentary he felt misled once he discovered the severity of concerns about the aircraft.

“The bureaucracy of permanent government is still at it. The official papers related to the crash were earmarked for destruction until an intervention.

“Even so, they have been placed under lock and key to be released only in 2094, 100 years after the crash.

“Why? Until we know, the story will stay with me.”