THE London Metropolitan police force has strongly rejected the findings of a leading Irish High Court judge who has raised major questions over its handling of a murder probe into the killing of a young Kerrywoman in London.

The Met was bitterly criticised by judge Elizabeth Dunne in an extradition judgement . . . revealed in last week's Sunday Tribune . . . in which she explicitly stated that the UK force had sought to coerce an Irishman into admitting guilt to the murder of Catherine Corridan (31) by threatening his brother with extradition on criminal charges. Legal experts have expressed concern in relation to the judgement, which showed that the Met used the tactic of coercion and fear to elicit an admission of guilt in the case.

In the hard-hitting judgement, Dunne found that the Met had acted "inappropriately" in bringing the extradition against Dubliner Martin Kerrigan. The judge stated that the sole purpose of the request seemed to be to coerce his brother Samuel into making an admission of guilt in the murder probe.

Samuel Kerrigan denied murdering Corridan but admitted he had robbed her home and disposed of her body after he discovered it at her accommodation in Ealing, west London in 1994. London police targeted him as the chief suspect in the murder after a cold case review almost a decade later and he was convicted of the Kerrywoman's murder last year. However, a spokesman for the London Met this weekend insisted that the force had "properly sought this extradition", despite the detailed ruling from the Irish court.

Meanwhile, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has warned that extradition cases involving Irish citizens to Britain should be treated with caution. The ICCL's Michael Finucane said, "We are concerned there is a tendency recently to treat extradition cases as a rubber-stamping exercise. All requests for extradition should be scrutinsed very carefully. Last week's judgement has implications for future requests by the London Met and underlines the need for extra caution as all may not be as it seems."