Northern Ireland news

Ballymurphy inquest: Military-grade ammunition 'used to shoot victims'

The Families of Ballymurphy victims outside court in Belfast. Picture by Hugh Russell 
Michael McHugh, Press Association

A ballistic expert has told the Ballymurphy inquest that injuries to the victims of the 1971 shootings were caused by "military-produced ammuniition".

However, Anne Polland from Forensic Science Northern Ireland (FSNI), said while the British army would have had this type of ammunition, both loyalist and republican paramilitaries could also have had some "in their possession."

Ms Polland read out a report agreed by specialists for the coroner, Ministry of Defence and victims' families after examining injuries caused to the victims.

"It was military-produced ammunition," she said.

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"Paramilitary groups at that time were able by whatever means to get their hands on weapons and ammunition which was military-sourced.

"There is a possibility that they may also have had some of this type of ammunition in their possession."

The senior scientific officer said she had sought and received the information from police intelligence and had not checked its veracity.

"We just wanted to cover all options as to why these guns may have been in Northern Ireland at the time."

An inquest at Belfast Coroner's Court is examining the deaths of 10 civilians across three days in August 1971.

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Claims loyalists may have been involved in the killings have been questioned during earlier hearings of the inquest.

Ms Polland was challenged by barrister for the deceased Fiona Doherty as to why she had sought the information.

The witness added it "was not information that we had to hand but we were aware that police intelligence would have this information".

The victims were unlikely to have been shot from close range, her evidence given to the inquest showed.

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