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IRA man Joe McCann got what he deserved, says victim's daughter

By Angela Rainey

A notorious republican shot dead by the Army "got what he deserved", the daughter of one of the first soldiers to be murdered in the Troubles has claimed.

Anna-Marie Bankier (47) was just weeks from her second birthday when her father Robert, a corporal in the Royal Green Jackets, was shot dead in Belfast on May 21, 1971.

The 25-year-old father-of-two was shot in the leg and bled to death.

A year later, leader of the Official IRA, Joe McCann, who was suspected of, but not prosecuted for, the killing, was shot dead by members of the Parachute Regiment.

Last week, the men accused of shooting him, identified only as Soldier A and Soldier C and now aged 67 and 65-years-old, have been told they will face prosecution. A third man has since died. All three were cleared in an initial investigation into the shooting in 1972.

Now, a decision by the Public Prosecution Service to reopen the case has sparked outrage from politicians, veterans and the families of murdered soldiers, who branded the move as a "witch-hunt".

Ms Bankier, from Ipswich, who cares for her widowed mother Cathie, criticised the potential prosecution in an interview with the Telegraph.

She said: "From what I have been told, there was an investigation many years ago and these men were cleared of any wrongdoing. So why, after all these years, are they being re-investigated?

"It seems to me like they are being hounded just for doing their jobs.

"It is diabolical and disgusting after all this time. They are old guys now. What purpose is it serving?

"I believe in karma, and that what goes around comes around. If he killed my dad, then he got what he deserved."

She added: "We knew that McCann was killed a year after my father died, and the two others were killed later. As far as I know, all the people responsible for my dad's death are now dead.

"I feel sorry for the families of these two soldiers who have been charged. It is not good for them to have this raked up again. I hope they get off."

A review of the case carried out by the Historical Enquiries Team said an unarmed McCann was shot three times as he tried to flee.

In 2014 the Attorney General requested a further inquest into McCann's death following pleas from his family. The action led to the fresh charges being brought against the soldiers.

Joe McCann’s funeral
Joe McCann’s funeral

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