Northern Ireland

Ballymurphy inquest: Soldier 'shot people lying on ground'

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

A woman has told the Ballymurphy Inquest she watched a soldier shoot two people several times as they lay on the ground.

Ann Callaghan told the court she was 18 when she watched the incident from a bedroom of her home near the Henry Taggart Army base, on the Springfield Road.

Four people were fatally shot in the area across the road from her home.

They were Joan Connolly, Joseph Murphy, Noel Phillips and Daniel Teggart.

It happened on the first day of internment, on 9th August 1971.

Ms Callaghan said she watched four soldiers leave the base and cross the road to some pillars at the entrance to the Manse field.

Image caption Manse field area opposite the Henry Taggart Hall

She explained that her father Joseph who was with her, had been a British soldier and explained to her what was happening.

Her father is now deceased.

Ms Callaghan said the soldier used his rifle to fire at two figures lying on the ground behind the pillars.

She recalled the barrel of the weapons being moved in a figure of eight motion, as it was fired.

She described seeing the bodies jumping with each impact, and their legs kicking in the air.

She said that some hours later an Army Saracen reversed to the area for the collection of the bodies but she didn't stay at the window to watch.

Earlier, the court heard recent statements made by two women who each lost a parent in the shooting that day.

Briege Voyle described the last thing she ever heard from her mother Joan Connolly before they were separated.

She said her mother warned her not to go to Springfield Park "because the protestants would shoot you, the Army won't".

Springfield Park adjoined the protestant Springmartin area.

Mrs Voyle's elder sister, Joan's daughter, was married to a British soldier.

Image caption Soldiers from the Parachute Regiment were based at Henry Taggart Army base

Briege Voyle said her mother had been protesting about the behaviour of soldiers during the internment operation, but honestly believed the soldiers would not harm her.

She described how her mother had previously enjoyed meeting soldiers in the area and had shared tea and sandwiches with them at her home.

In a different statement, Alice Harper described going to the Henry Taggart base three times to try and find her father, Daniel Teggart, asking if he had been arrested.

She said one soldier at the base told her "We've no time for f-ing arresting, just killing."

In her statement she explained that some journalists later took her to Laganbank morgue where she viewed her father's body.

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