Belfast Telegraph

Parachute Regiment Facebook plea for Troubles killing witnesses branded 'witch-hunt'

The Ministry of Defence has defended a social media post appealing for information from former soldiers about a Troubles killing.

Bernard Watt (28) was shot dead in 1971 by the Army in the Ardoyne area.

The inquest into the death has been delayed by attempts to find witnesses and is due to be held in April.

Posting on Facebook, the Parachute Regiment asked former members with any knowledge of the incident to get in touch.

However it prompted hundreds of comments with many describing the appear as a "witch hunt" against ex-soldiers".

An MoD spokesperson told the BBC they must make all "reasonable attempts" to contact those who may have information.

Speaking on behalf of the Watt family solicitor Padraig O'Muirigh told the BBC: "This inquest was directed by the Attorney General in 2012, almost five years ago, and to date there has been very little success in identifying soldiers involved on that particular day.

"This family never had a proper investigation and it's not about a witch hunt. An inquest is a fact-finding mission, it doesn't make decisions on criminal or civil liabilities so to call it a witch hunt is a gross exaggeration."

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