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Soldier B's evidence crucial for inquest

25 March, 2015 - by Fra McCann

 Sinn Féin MLA Fra McCann has said that the coroner must do all in his power to get to the truth of the British army killing of eleven-year-old Francis Rowntree in the Divis Flats in 1972.

 Fra McCann was speaking after a Belfast court heard today that the soldier who fired the rubber bullet which killed Francis Rowntree, is suffering from ill health.

 Mr McCann said,

 “Francis Rowntree was 11 years of age when he was killed by a rubber bullet fired by Soldier B in 1972.

 “His family has campaigned tirelessly since then to find out the truth about how he was killed.

 “The revelation today at the preliminary hearing into his death has heard that Soldier B now has a heart condition.

 “I am calling on to the coroner to do all in his power to ensure that Soldier B gives evidence and that his evidence is put to the test.

 “While we acknowledge his ill health, the family of Francis Rowntree have also suffered terribly through the loss of their child and not knowing the full circumstances of how he died.

 “The family deserve that truth and there is an onus on the coroner to work out how this soldier can give evidence and how that evidence can be put to the test.”

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