Remains of British Army shooting victim Daniel Rooney (18) exhumed for probe

Allison Morris
21 November, 2016 20:45

A DETECTIVE overseeing the exhumation of a man shot dead by a controversial British Army unit has vowed to get to the truth about the disputed killing.

Daniel Rooney was 18 when he was shot in the St James' area of west Belfast in September 1972. He died later in hospital.

The remains of the west Belfast teenager were exhumed from Milltown Cemetery on Monday and will be removed for examination to establish if bullet fragments came from a military issue weapon.

The teenager was shot by members of Military Reaction Force (MRF).

The exhumation was approved by the coroner earlier this month to establish if any bullet fragments can be recovered from the teenager's remains.

Daniel Rooney 

No examination was undertaken at the time of his death and no explanation ever given to the family as to why there had been no post mortem.

However, a medical report recovered by the family's solicitor noted a bullet entry wound but made no mention of an exit wound leading to speculation that it may have remained lodged in his body .

The complex dig at Milltown cemetery in west Belfast is part of a wider investigation by detectives into allegations the MRF after the Northern Ireland's Director of Public Prosecutions Barra McGrory referred the case to the PSNI for a fresh investigation.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil McGuinness said he was running the inquiry on the same lines as a murder investigation.

The detective added the investigation was probably the most complex he had experienced in 20 years in policing.

"What I am after is the truth of what happened," he said.

The investigation is being carried out by the Police Service of Northern Ireland's Legacy Investigations Branch.

The exhumation process is said to have caused enormous distress to the Rooney family as the teenager is buried in a family plot and three other family members remains have been disturbed as part of the process which is scheduled to take two days.

"Myself and my team are determined to get to the truth of what happened both for the Rooney family and for all the other families involved in the this investigation," added the detective.

The Rooney family's solicitor Padraig Ó Muirigh said it was a very emotional time for the victim's relatives.

"It's very distressing but they understand the necessity of this exhumation and they understand it may lead to further investigative opportunities for the ongoing investigation and also assist the forthcoming inquest", he added.

21 November, 2016 20:45 News