Northern Ireland news

New inquest ordered into first shoot-to-kill death

Patsy Duffy (50) was shot dead at a house at Maureen Avenue in Derry.
Seamus McKinney

A new inquest has been ordered into what is believed to be the first British army shoot-to-kill operation in Northern Ireland.

Attorney General, John Larkin QC has agreed to a request for a fresh inquest into the death of IRA man, Patrick Duffy who was shot dead by British soldiers at a house in Derry on November 24 1978.

While the Derry father-of-eight was checking IRA arms at the time, it was subsequently discovered that he was unarmed and that he did not have the key required to open a wardrobe in which the arms were stored.

It was revealed at the first inquest into Mr Duffy's killing that he was shot in the back and side. Following his death, then bishop of Derry, the late Edward Daly said he had been a victim of a British army “shoot-to-kill” operation.

Solicitor, Patricia Coyle, who represents Mr Duffy's family, said there was no reason why a bullet removed from Mr Duffy's body during a post mortem examination could not be made available for modern ballistic analysis to trace it to a weapon and possibly the soldier responsible.

Confirming the new inquest, Attorney General, Mr Larkin told Mr Duffy's family no reason had been provided by the Ministry of Defence as to why the two soldiers who opened fire should not be called to give evidence.

He said: “There does not, on the materials available to me, appear to be any objective justification for shooting Mr Duffy.”.

Mr Duffy's daughter, Martina has welcomed the Attorney General's decision.

“His death devastated my mother, me and my five brothers and sisters at the time and continues to do so today,” she said.

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