Ballymurphy Coroner rules innocent Deceased killed by military fire in August 1971 – Anne Studd QC acted for M167
Anne Studd QC acted for one of the soldiers in the parachute regiment involved in the operation where ten civilians were shot and fatally wounded by soldiers in the Ballymurphy area of west Belfast between August 9th-11th, 1971 at the commencement of internment. The deaths occurred amid heightened levels of violence following the introduction of internment on the morning of August 9th that year.
Keegan J heard evidence over 100 days in an attempt to resolve the issues relating to the deaths almost 50 years after they occurred. In 1971, the British army claimed they had been shooting at terrorists in Ballymurphy, and the Deceased were either gunmen or had been caught in the crossfire.
Keegan J concluded that all bar one of the Deceased were killed by the military in the course of the operation and all were innocent of any wrongdoing. In relation to the John James McKerr she could not reach a conclusion because of the paucity of material.
Anne’s client was exculpated from being responsible for one of the deaths. This was one of a number of legacy inquests being heard in Northern Ireland.