Soldier suspected of teen's killing 'also plotted to kill Gerry Adams'

Leo Norney (17) was shot dead in west Belfast in 1975
Connla Young

A British soldier believed to have shot dead an innocent west Belfast teenager was also involved in a plot to kill Gerry Adams, it has been claimed.

Corporal John Ross MacKay was said to have been given a sawn-off shotgun by RUC members and told to plant it on the republican leader after shooting him.

The plan was allegedly foiled when other members of his regiment reported it to military police.

MacKay is suspected of shooting dead 17-year-old Leo Norney minutes after he was stopped for questioning by soldiers in Turf Lodge in 1975.

Two years later he was one of five British soldiers convicted of planting ammunition in cars owned by civilians.

He died suddenly in Scotland last year on the 40th anniversary of the Norney killing.

Fresh allegations about MacKay are contained in a letter sent recently to Belfast-based solicitor Fearghál Shiels.

Written by a man who claims to be a former member of the same Black Watch regiment, it claims his “psychopathic” behaviour was well known at the time and he was drunk the night he killed the trainee postman.

The letter also claims that he sported a "King Billy tattoo” and was “befriended” by members of the RUC.

It is alleged that after the Norney shooting MacKay was involved in the plot to kill Mr Adams, who had been released from Long Kesh.

The letter has been passed on to a coroner overseeing a new inquest into the teenager’s death which was ordered in 2014.

The claims have led to calls for a new independent mechanism to deal with British army killings during the Troubles.

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