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Ballymurphy Massacre Inquest Victims' families protest Charles Windsor's visit to the north of Ireland

BALLYMURPHY families protested against the “insensitive” visit of Prince Charles to the north of Ireland today while an inquest into the killing of 10 people by British soldiers is under way.

Relatives gathered near Laganside Courts in Belfast demanding the royal, who is colonel-in-chief of the Parachute Regiment, apologise for the actions of the “Paras” who shot dead unarmed civilians in a three-day killing spree in August 1971.

They held placards including one which read “Colonel-in-chief of Paras, shame on you” in a dignified protest as the inquest into the deaths continued.

The Belfast court has heard shocking testimony in the past few weeks over the role of British paratroopers in the Ballymurphy area of west Belfast.

Military and civilian witnesses have described soldiers who were “out of control” and viewed everyone they confronted as a member of the IRA and therefore a legitimate target.

Former soldier Harry Gow described a sickening competition with money collected in a pot given to whoever made the first kill to be spent on a “piss-up.”

And in a gruesome twist he claimed that British soldiers used part of the skull of victim Henry Thornton as an ashtray.

John Teggart, whose father Danny was killed during the Ballymurphy massacre, said: “Prince Charles is the colonel-in-chief of the Parachute Regiment and he must take full responsibility for the actions of his troops.

“We think that the timing of this visit is very insensitive given the evidence of mass murder and sheer brutality being described in court by witnesses over the past months.

“Charles should know the hurt families like ourselves are going though at this present time. This hurt is not restricted to us, we know that other families suffer as we do.”

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