Northern Ireland news

Ballymurphy inquest hears evidence from military witness who questions account by soldier

Families and survivors of the Ballymurphy massacre outside court in Belfast

THE Ballymurphy inquest yesterday heard evidence from a military witness who questioned an account given by an unidentifiable soldier.

Witness M546, a lance corporal in charge of a section in 7 Platoon, C Company, 1 Para in August 1971, said he believed the soldier was "doing a Walter Mitty".

The inquest is investigating the deaths of 10 people in west Belfast following the introduction of internment in 1971.

Soldier B, whose name was known by judicial authorities in 1972 but has been lost, had described firing six shots at two men who, he said, had a sub-machine gun and a pistol.

However, witness M546 yesterday said he was "amazed" by the statement and could not remember any shooting. He told the court if it had happened, he and his fellow soldiers would have known about it.

The witness described finding a civilian casualty with a severe injury to his right side and covered in blood and spoke of his surprise at finding a civilian with such injuries.

A barrister for the family of Joseph Corr (43), whose death is being investigated by the inquest as well as that of John Laverty (20), said they believe their loved one was the person found by the soldier.

Another member of the same platoon, witness M432, remembered hearing shooting ahead of him as they made their way down Upper Whiterock Road.

He told the inquest yesterday he did not remember hearing low-velocity shots, which might have come from a sub-machine gun or a pistol.

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