Ballymurphy Massacre Inquests Day 43 2/4/19

Posted By: April 03, 2019



Ciaran Cahill is with Pat Quinn.

Ballymurphy Massacre Inquests Day 43 2/4/19

The first witness to give evidence was M283 a newly recruited private into B company two para in 1971. He was based in the Henry Teggart hall and didn’t leave the hall the whole day during internment. He said the older soldiers manned the sangars and told the new recruits to stay inside and keep their heads down. M283 said he was aware of rioting outside and heard shots being fired but he was unable to tell if they were high or low velocity, he said that shots were returned by soldiers outside but was unable to identify any of them. He said that he was told to keep his head down so didn’t look out any of the windows. M283 told the court he became aware of army vehicles going over to the manse field to collect the injured and dead and return to the Henry Taggart. He later heard that a woman was one of the dead. M283 could not remember what happened in the days following 9th August 1971 or when he left Northern Ireland.

Mr. Mansfield council for the Mullan and Quinn families asked M283 if he knew the identity of other soldiers who made a statement or who were with him in the Henry Taggart, M283 “I cannot remember.” Asked if he remembered any senior officers or the officer in charge, or the sergeant major, M283 replied “sorry I don’t.”

Mr. Mansfield asked him if he remembered who gave him the order to stay inside M283 replied: “I can’t remember.” When asked if he could describe the interior of the Henry Taggart M293 replied: “I can’t remember.” Mr. Mansfield asked, “If you were in the hall and told to keep out of the way, what were you doing all day?” M283 replied, “I can’t remember.”

Mr. Mansfield asked two further questions, “do you remember the moment the dead or injured were brought in and did you ever ask about what happened to them” M283 replied, “I don’t remember.”

The second witness C4 was a 24-year-old in 1971 and a serving member of the Royal Corps of Signals. C4 explained that although he came from Gloucestershire, he had married a woman from Ballymurphy and was on leave at the time.

C4 gave evidence at the original inquest into the death of Fr Mullan in 1972; he also made a statement on 21st August 1971 to church authorities giving an account of what he saw. C4 made further statements to the HET in 2010 and the coroner in 2018 and interviews with journalists.

He told the court that he went to help his sister-in-law who lived in Springfield Park to safety as their homes were being attacked by protestants in Springmartin. C4 heard shots from a pistol which he believed was fired on the protestant side. He described telling his sister-in-law that she needed to get out with the kids before leaving the house with one a child under his arm and crossing the waste ground at Springfield Park towards Moyard flats. C4 saw Bobby Clarke bring a baby across the field to the flats and on his return journey about halfway across the field he got shot. C4 said, “he got shot in the lower back and fell to the ground, he lifted his arm to indicate he was alive and at this signal women and children ran across the field.”

C4 ran too and got as far as Bobby Clarke but was “pinned down by shots from Springmartin Flats.” C4 said he saw two soldiers wearing red berets on the roof of Springmartin Flats firing SLRs. C4 told the court because of his military training he was able to tell the direction of fire and that it was high-velocity SLR bullets”.C4 told the court “I told people to lie down and stay still, don’t move” He said “the bullets were whizzing around me, some people were praying, some were moaning and calling for their mothers”.

C4 then saw Fr Mullan coming across the field towards Bobby Clarke waiving a white handkerchief. C4 said he told Fr Mullan to get down as his movement made him a target. Fr Mullan continued toward Bobby Clark and administered the last rites before crawling away to get assistance. C4 said he watched Fr Mullan being shot and said the priest screamed out. He said after the priest was hit a second time, he listened to him pray for about 10 minutes in English and Latin, before he died. C4 said he could see two soldiers firing and watched the muzzle flashes from their weapons. “I feel that the soldiers knew he was a priest because of his dress and his actions” adding “the soldiers must have seen we had babies in our arms.”

After Fr Mullan’s death, C4 was nicked in the leg by one bullet which he believed then hit another man in the field. C4 told the court “almost immediately Frank Quinn screamed ‘I’m hit, I’m hit,’ I asked him if it was bad and he didn’t reply so I presumed he was dead.” C4 said he didn’t move until first aid people arrived when it was dark and was helped to safety. C4 told the court “There was nobody there on the Catholic side with guns, there were no gunmen in the field, there were no guns except SLR’s.”

The court was shown a television interview with C4 in which he was asked “the military said they were firing at gunmen” C4 replied, “they created ghost gunmen, they didn’t want to be charged with murder.” He said “I was quite, not shocked, disgusted, by the fact that the soldiers did lie,” adding “When I served in the army I served with honor, part of that was the truth.” C4 said, “The lie was coming from the officers higher up the ranks that shocked me.”

In the same interview, C4 described attending Fr Mullan’s inquest in 1972 to give evidence. C4 said after the inquest he was called a traitor by an officer of the Parachute Regiment who threatened to kill him. He said “they later came to my house and raided it” giving him a beating at the same time.

C4 said “I could see both sides of what was going on” later adding “Don’t think this is easy for me, it’s not. My loyalties are being torn apart.”

C4’s evidence continues tomorrow 03/04/19 at 10.30am

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