Guernsey Press

New inquest ordered into 1972 shooting of Royal Navy veteran in north Belfast

Thomas Aquinas Burns was killed in a shooting involving the British Army on July 13, 1972.


A fresh inquest has been ordered into the shooting of a Royal Navy veteran in north Belfast 50 years ago.

Thomas Aquinas Burns, 32, was killed in a shooting incident which involved the British Army on July 13, 1972 outside the Glen Park Social Club.

Mr Burns had previously served with the Royal Navy for ten years and was a father of four.

His wife Kathleen had campaigned for answers around the circumstances of his death until her own death in 2007.

The original inquest, which took place in 1973, concluded a verdict of misadventure.

The request was based on new evidence provided by former soldiers to the now defunct Historical Enquiries Team and a new statement from a civilian witness.

The previous attorney general, John Larkin, had refused the request for a fresh inquest, a decision which was challenged by a successful judicial review last year, and sent to Ms King for reconsideration.

Ms Burns said her family want accountability over her father’s death.

“This inquest means so much to us. The army killed an innocent man for no reason and deprived me and my brothers of our father at a very young age,” she said.

“I wish my mum Kathleen were here to see this fresh inquest. This is a big step towards justice and justice starts with information.

“We remain hopeful of state accountability for our father’s killing.”

Patricia Coyle of Harte Coyle Collins, acting for Ms Burns, added: “Our clients very much welcome the direction for a fresh inquest into the state killing of their father issued by the attorney general yesterday.

“They look forward to the inquest opening in the coroner’s court as soon as possible and they are intent on continuing their indefatigable campaign for justice for their father.”

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