If there is one major apparent inconsistency in Dolours Price’s account of the killing of Belfast widow and mother-of-ten Jean McConville, it is that only one bullet was found in her body when it was unearthed at Shelling Hill beach on the shore of Carlingford Lough in late August 2003.
Price’s account has each of her three IRA abductors firing a shot at her ‘so that no-one would know for sure who had killed her’. According to the autopsy carried out by two Dublin-based state pathologists, Professor Marie Cassidy and Dr Richard Shepherd, one bullet was fired from behind into her head, lodged in her skull and was the only slug found in her remains.
So either Dolours Price invented that story, for what reason can only be guessed at, or there is another explanation for the missing bullets.
A clue may be found in the report prepared by the then Northern Police Ombudsman, Nuala – now Baroness – O’Loan who cited inquest evidence given by a senior engineer working for Louth County Council about how bad weather may have altered the terrain where Jean McConville’s body was discovered.
‘The Coroner sought expert evidence as to the geographical history of the area in which Mrs McConville was found. A Senior Executive Engineer from Louth County Council gave evidence to the inquest in relation to coastal erosion at Shelling Hill Beach He stated that “an extreme storm event occurred on 1 February 2002,” and that it “washed away part of the carpark and roadway. The high embankment west of the car park was eroded and undermined”. He also stated that at the location at which Mrs McConville’s body was found “the erosion has lowered the beach by 10” to 12” in recent times”.’