Belfast Telegraph

Marian Brown inquest: Lawyer for family of shot teen accuses soldier of taking part in cover up

By Rebecca Black

A lawyer acting for the family of a pregnant teenager shot in disputed circumstances accused a soldier of “making up a story” about events that night and taking part in an army cover-up.

Marian Brown died after being hit by four bullets after kissing her boyfriend goodnight on Roden Street in west Belfast in the early hours of June 10, 1972.

It has never been proven who shot the bullets that killed her.

Yesterday a soldier who was on patrol in the area during the incident told the inquest that he saw three terrorist gunmen.

Appearing via live video link, Soldier A - who has been granted anonymity by Judge David McFarland - could only been seen on screens by Marian’s brother and sister, and the legal teams present at the hearing.

He told the inquest that around 12.50 on June 10, 1972 he had been manning a vehicle check point (VCP) on Roden Street as part of an eight man team when he heard two or three single shots being fired.

He moved closer and saw a stationary car at the junction with the Grosvenor Road, a flash from the front passenger side window.

Soldier A said there were also two gun men at the corner of Roden Street, one on the right hand corner and one on the left hand corner.

There was then a burst of around 30-35 rounds of automatic gunfire, according to the soldier’s evidence.

“It was long enough for me to use it as an aiming mark” he said.

“I hit the car because I never missed.”

Soldier A said he fired one shot and that car swerved off towards the Falls Road direction.

“It finished as quick as it started,” he added.

He said that he and other soldiers got into their vehicle and made their way up Roden Street until they reached a crowd of people who he described as “very angry”.

“They were very angry people and quite rightly so, screaming and shouting,” he said, adding that as the gunmen were gone he felt the crowd were taking their anger out on him and his colleagues.

Soldier A said his section commander told him to offer his help so he went to a house where he believed a wounded person had been taken. But he said he was blocked from entering the house by four-five men who shouted verbal abuse at him about British soldiers not being welcome.

Soldier A said an ambulance then arrived and he saw a girl with “fair hair” being carried out on a stretcher.

He was a member of the third Royal Anglian Regiment at the time, held the rank of Lance Corporal, was 25-years-old and had been in the army for three years at the time of the incident.

However Fiona Doherty QC, acting for Marian Brown’s family, queried Soldier A’s evidence and questioned inconsistencies between statements he gave in 1972 and 1974 compared with a statement he gave in 2017.

He responded by saying: “someone is lying”.

She said: “I agree with you, someone is lying”, and put to him that the car he says he saw was not there, that no other eye witness to give evidence to the inquest had seen the car and that no-one who has given evidence to the inquest so far had seen the gunmen he reported.

“What you are saying simply isn’t true,” she put to him.

Soldier A responded saying: “I’m afraid it is m’am”.

Ms Doherty went on: “You and your colleagues have made up the story because you either want to cover up your illegal behaviour or the illegal behaviour of someone else in your section. You have come here today and given an embellished account.”

She added: “This is nothing short of an attempt at a cover up. Shots from soldiers killed or injured Marian Brown and three other people, you can’t explain how that happened. You can’t explain how four innocent people were killed or injured that evening?”

Soldier A responded: “no”.

The inquest continues.

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