Belfast Telegraph

Family's final salute to soldier

The sisters of a British soldier killed by the IRA in Northern Ireland almost 40 years ago have placed flowers for the first time at the spot where a sniper shot him.

Lance Corporal Richard Miller, 21, was on undercover duty on the streets beside the city's Royal Victoria Hospital when he was ambushed in August 1973.

Tuesday would have been his 58th birthday and as the people of west Belfast wrapped up against the snow and ice, the two women from the North East of England stood by themselves on a freezing footpath on the Falls Road and quietly remembered their only brother who joined the army when he was a boy.

Mother-of-three Karyn Jackson, 51, from the Ashbrooke area of Sunderland, who placed a bunch of flowers, said: "I found it very emotional, but I'm glad I came to see where he died.

"I was only 14 at the time and didn't really understand. I heard and watched my parents' pain, but there was no bitterness."

Cpl Miller, who served with the Light Infantry, was in an unmarked car outside what was then the main hospital entrance - just opposite St Paul's Catholic Church - when he was hit in the body by a gunman who opened fire from the back of a speeding red Audi.

His parents Richard and Maureen Miller who lived in the village of Easington, Co Durham, waited at his bedside, at the same hospital, for three weeks until he died.

He was the 939th murder victim of the troubles in Northern Ireland. Nobody was ever charged.

A special investigative unit, the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) which was set up to review the circumstances surrounding the deaths of more than 3,000 people killed in the years of violence, prepared a report for the family to let them know exactly how the young soldier died. He joined the army when he was only 16.

Mrs Jackson, who works for a support group involved with families caring for victims of alcohol and drug abuse, travelled to Belfast with her younger sister Louisa Wilkinson, 44.

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