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Family of Marian Brown finally hear the truth

The family of pregnant teenager Marian Brown, shot dead by a British soldier in 1972, have waited 46 years for a court to declare that her killing was unjustified.

The finding by coroner Judge David McFarland in this legacy inquest, was a significant moment for her relatives and also her boyfriend, Thomas Corrigan, who was himself badly injured and not only lost his girlfriend but also their unborn child.

As we know, there is a considerable backlog of inquests relating to legacy cases from the Troubles.

Families have waited decades to hear the full circumstances surrounding the death of their loved ones, including many involving the security forces or where there was an inadequate investigation at the time of the killing.

This is very much the situation in the case of Marian Brown.

She was shot just after sharing a last hug with her boyfriend at Roden Street in west Belfast.

The source of the fatal round was long disputed with the killing first blamed on republican and then loyalist gunmen.

A review of the case by the Historical Enquiries Team suggested the shot may have been fired by a soldier and a fresh inquest was carried out last year which heard from former military and civilian witnesses.

In his findings yesterday, Judge McFarland accepted members of the Royal Anglican Regiment acted in self defence after someone travelling in a vehicle opened fire on their checkpoint.

However, the judge said Marian Brown did not pose a threat adding that the army rules of engagement were not followed and there was an 'inadequate' investigation afterwards.

''The use of force by the soldier that caused the death of Marian Brown, whoever he was, was not justified,'' said the judge.

Her brother, Richard Brown, said yesterday he was sorry it had taken 46 years to prove something the family knew from day one.

It is appalling that they have had to wait so long but very important that they have finally been given an official finding into a killing that should not have happened.

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