Northern Ireland

Soldier claimed his name was fabricated on Ballymurphy arrest forms

Relatives of the Ballymurphy victims outside court in Belfast. Picture by Hugh Russell
Relatives of the Ballymurphy victims outside court in Belfast. Picture by Hugh Russell

A FORMER sergeant with the Parachute Regiment has denied he arrested two brothers who were beaten up by British soldiers at Ballymurphy.

The ex-police sergeant with the 1st Battalion of the regiment was giving evidence at the inquest into the deaths of 10 people in Ballymurphy in west Belfast in 1971.

It has been examining the deaths of John Laverty (20) and Joseph Corr (43) on August 11 on Upper Whiterock Road as soldiers of the Parachute Regiment moved into the area.

The witness, known as M402, said he saw two men, later identified by others as Mr Laverty and Mr Corr, lying on a grass verge but did not know if they had been moved there.

He said he spoke briefly to one of the men but could not remember which one.

The ex-soldier was also asked about arrest forms which bore his name.

The forms were for teenage brothers Bernard and Robert Doyle who have already told the inquest they were arrested and beaten by soldiers after witnessing a shooting victim outside their home.

M402 denied arresting the brothers and said he did not know why his name and identification number were on the forms.

He said the handwriting on the forms was not his and suggested that his name and number had been fabricated.

"I did not go into houses and arrest people - that's not my job," he said.

The witness also said he did not see any civilian being beaten up by soldiers.

He said he later searched a young man who was brought to him by other soldiers. After he found a .45 round in the man's pocket, he said the man was detained by other military police but he was not involved in that arrest.

The witness said he recalled that the man later failed to appear in court.

The inquest also heard from two other military witnesses, including a sergeant in the Royal Army Medical Corps attached to 1 Para.

He said when he came on the scene he saw two men lying on a pavement. One of the men, later identified as Mr Laverty, was already dead but the other man, later named as Mr Corr, was still alive.

The man, referred to as M380, said medics had to wait between 20 and 30 minutes for a military ambulance to arrive. While they were waiting, officers from the Royal Military Police took photos of the two men, he said.

He helped apply a bandage to Mr Corr at the scene and applied another on the way to Musgrave Park hospital. He said the victim kept mumbling on the way to hospital but said "nothing coherent".

At one point, part of a make-shift barricade got stuck in the ambulance's drive shaft and the driver had to stop and get out to remove it.

He said he did not know how either man got shot and did not ask.

The third military witness said he saw two men lying on a pavement but did not go near them and could not remember other details.

The inquest continues.