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A FORMER British soldier received death threats from paratroopers who raided his home and assaulted him for giving evidence in a 1972 Belfast shooting inquiry, a court heard today.
He was giving testimony in the inquest into the events of August 1971 when British paratroopers opened fire in west Belfast killing 10 people in what has become known as the Ballymurphy Massacre.
The former soldier has been granted anonymity and has been giving evidence at the Belfast inquest under the codename C4.
He explained that he had not been on active service at the time of the shootings but had been visiting the area with his wife, who was from the Ballymurphy area.
C4 told the court the previous day that he had seen two soldiers with red berets firing at Father Hugh Mullan and Francis Quinn on wasteland in Springfield Park as he was trying to help people to safety.
He explained that he saw Father Mullan being shot and heard him scream out, before being hit a second time.
C4 told how he listened to him pray for a while in both English and Latin before he died.
When was called to give evidence at the original 1972 inquest into the killings, C4 said an army major asked him not to testify.
He also claimed an army captain threatened his life, that he was called a traitor and members of the Parachute Regiment raided his home and assaulted him.
Lawyers for the Ministry of Defence challenged C4’s evidence today, telling him it was a serious allegation to say a captain had made a death threat and asked for more details about the threatened court martial.
C4 explained he had made a complaint to the then army base at Henry Taggart Memorial Hall, and had been told “action would be taken.”
The Ballymurphy Massacre came after the British government introduced the policy of internment, which meant suspects could be held indefinitely without trial.
It was seen as targeted unjustly against Ireland’s Catholic minority, with the British state at the time working in collusion with loyalist paramilitaries in the north.
The inquiry has been hampered by loss of key evidence and funding for investigations blocked by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).
The killing spree is known as “Belfast’s Bloody Sunday,” coming months before the Derry massacre in which 13 unarmed civilians were shot dead after attending a peaceful civil rights demonstration.
The inquest continues.
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