Paddy McElhone: Farmer shooting by Army unjustified, inquest rules

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image copyrightFamily photo
image captionPaddy McElhone was shot in the back by a soldier in 1974

The shooting dead of a man by the Army in County Tyrone in August 1974 was unjustified, a coroner has ruled.

Paddy McElhone, 24, a farmer, was shot in the back near his home in Limehill, Pomeroy.

An inquest heard the shot was fired by a soldier from the First Battalion, Royal Regiment of Wales.

Judge Siobhan Keegan said Mr McElhone was an "innocent man shot in cold blood without warning when he was no threat to anyone".

The soldier, now deceased, had been cleared of murder but the circumstances were re-examined in a new inquest ordered by the Attorney General.

image captionPaddy McElhone's family said he was killed without justification, explanation or apology

Afterwards, a statement issued by the McElhone family said it had been a "very long road" to reach Thursday's ruling and that the truth "has been heard".

It reads: "Our family always knew that Paddy was an innocent young man, taken from his home and shot by a British soldier for no reason."

'Without justification'

Evidence presented to the inquest found Mr McElhone was not on any list associated with the IRA and was an innocent man from a humble background.

The family said Mr McElhone's parents "went to their graves broken-hearted knowing that their innocent son had been killed, without justification, explanation or apology".

"We feel that, today, Judge Keenan at this inquest has, at long last, exonerated Paddy in full," the statement continued.

"As a family we can grieve Paddy, and respect his memory as an innocent young man."

The inquest into Mr McElhone's death was the first in a series of coroners' investigations into deaths associated with Northern Ireland's Troubles.

It was held in Omagh courthouse in County Tyrone.