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Family's relief as date set for fresh inquest into army killing of Derry mother

The daughters of Kathleen Thompson, Minty and Patricia, with son Erin, at the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast. Picture by Hugh Russell.
Paul Ainsworth

The family of a mother-of-six shot dead by a British soldier at her Derry home in 1971 have welcomed a date for a fresh inquest into her killing.

Kathleen Thompson was 47 that November when she was shot during a night-time army raid in Derry's Creggan estate, and her then 12-year-old daughter found her lifeless body in the family's back garden.

Hers is one of 56 legacy cases under review by Lord Justice Weir, and a new inquest into her death was ordered in 2013 when the Attorney General for Northern Ireland reviewed a report by the Historical Enquiries Team (HET).

Members of the HET - which was disbanded in 2014 - had interviewed the soldier who fired the fatal shot for their report, and evidence from this individual, known as ‘Soldier D', will form part of the new inquest, now scheduled for October 28.

At a preliminary hearing in Belfast yesterday, Mr Justice Colton ordered all evidence and material to be ready by the end of this month, while a spokeswoman for the Coroners Service said witnesses have been asked to come forward to provide evidence at a fresh inquest.

The court heard another soldier “who may have been involved in the incident” will also be contacted, while a pathologist's report is due to be presented this summer.

Addressing relatives of Ms Thompson in the court, including two of her daughters, Mr Justice Colgan said: “I can assure you a lot of work has been going on. We are determined to make this inquest date of October 28.”

Speaking after the hearing, Kathleen's daughter Minty Thompson said the family was “very happy” to have a date for a new inquest, but expressed concerns over the reactions of the Ministry of Defence.

“We want some assurances that the MOD will comply with all their obligations promptly to ensure that the inquest can proceed effectively,” she said.

“We have waited long enough for the truth to emerge and we want any further frustration as a result of delays”

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