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Ballymurphy Massacre Inquest Former army medic claims officer suggested planting ammo on those killed in the Ballymurphy massacre

A FORMER army medic claimed today he heard an officer suggest planting ammunition on the bodies of those killed in the Ballymurphy massacre. 

On August 1971 British soldiers shot dead 10 people over the course of three days in the Ballymurphy area of West Belfast. 

Nigel Mumford, who was attached to the Second Battalion of the Parachute Regiment in Ballymurphy on August 9 1971, made the claim while speaking at the inquest into the killings at at Belfast Coroner’s Court. 

“I would not allow it,” Mr Mumford said when asked if he had reported what happened. He said he did not want to negatively affect his career. “It takes a brave man to go up against an officer in the British army.”

Mr Mumford also questioned the integrity of the families of the 10 people killed in Ballymurphy by suggesting they were only seeking justice for the money. 

When disputing David Callaghan’s witness statement in which he said British soldiers had beaten him at a temporary army base at Henry Taggart Hall, Mr Mumford said: “What you have heard is perjury from families that want money, no soldier touched that man.”

Mr Mumford told the inquest he saw IRA gunmen armed with Thompson submachine guns, Armalite rifles and pistols outside Henry Taggart Hall.

He said he was shot at as he cleared stones thrown at the front of the hall. That task had been allocated to him as a punishment after he shouted: “Up the IRA, by the fucking neck” at a crowd.

“The first gunfire started on me outside the Henry Taggart Hall. I could hear explosions and bullets going off everywhere, it was like Guy Fawkes Night,” he said.

He also told the inquest he heard an officer give the order to soldiers to shoot to kill.

Earlier today Mr Mumford described seeing soldiers mete out psychological torture on people they interned.

He said he saw internees with bags placed over their heads and their hands tied behind their back, and said they were made to believe they were going to be pushed off a table and hanged.

“It was to put the fear of god into them,” he said.

Questioned by counsel for Coroner Siobhan Keegan about inconsistencies between accounts he gave in a book he wrote about his army service and videos he posted on YouTube, Mr Mumford told the inquest that after he wrote his book one of his notepads was “stolen by a frog” in Tahiti.

Among those treated by Mr Mumford was Danny Teggart, who died after being shot 14 times. The medic outlined graphic details of his chest injuries during the hearing.

Afterwards outside court, Mr Teggart’s son John reacted to the evidence, in particular the suggestion that bullets were to be planted on those who were shot.

“There were stories made up at the time that my father had bullets in his pockets, although there was no evidence to support that, and now we have where that come from and were it was stated that a member of 1 Para [1st Regiment], as he says, an officer in 1 Para, had asked him to plant bullets on the wounded and he refused,” he said.

“Bringing that out and clearing up the account for my father having bullets in his pockets, that was good for me, so that’s some good that’s come out of this new evidence today.”

The inquest continues.


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