Northern Ireland

Ballymurphy Inquest: Former soldier excused from giving evidence

The Ballymurphy victims
Image caption Ten people were killed in the shootings at Ballymurphy in 1971

A witness has been excused from giving evidence at the Ballymurphy Inquest, due to ill health.

Known only as Soldier M12, he had already been granted anonymity by the coroner.

He is understood to have been a member of Support Company, 2 Para.

He was on duty in the area near Springfield Park where Father Hugh Mullan and Francis Quinn were shot dead on 9 August 1971.

Delivering her ruling, the coroner Mrs Justice Keegan said it was clear from the medical evidence provided that M12 suffers from "a significant cognitive impairment" and would not be able to provide "reliable witness testimony".

The court heard the former solider has Alzheimer's disease and has recently been in hospital for another condition.

Mrs Justice Keegan noted that she believed M12 was cooperative and was keen to attend the inquest.

However, she concluded that in the light of the medical evidence it would be "totally unfair on him and of no assistance to me to compel him to attend".

Hearings at the Ballymurphy Inquest will resume on 29 April.

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