Belfast Telegraph

Chelsea Pensioner quizzed by Northern Ireland officers over IRA shooting death in 1972

A Chelsea pensioner says he is being hounded by investigators over the death of an IRA man who was killed in a firefight more than 40 years ago.

The man, who is a former Royal Marine, disclosed he had become a suspect in the killing of the terrorist who was killed in Belfast in 1972.

Speaking to the Daily Mail from Royal Hospital Chelsea, where he said he was questioned by officers from Northern Ireland for four hours, he said:

“I am now under suspicion. My case is an example of how far these people are willing to go.

“Are they going to look for 95-year-old Normandy veterans next?

“It does not matter if you've served for 22 years in the Army and in the Marines, these people are still going to chase you.

“It does not even matter if you live in a castle in Scotland, a council estate in England, or a magnificent place like the Royal Hospital Chelsea, these people will still want to find you.”

The veteran, who is now 75, says he is fearful of another knock on his door.

It was reported he was awarded a 'certificate of appreciation' following the incident, which praised him for his 'good service' and 'devotion to duty'.

A new body has been set up to reinvestigate Army killings during the Troubles.

The Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) is among a suite of organisations planned to investigate the bloody legacy of the Troubles.

Speaking to the Daily Mail about the day of the shooting, the pensioner said: “My company commander put me in the situation to ambush and if necessary kill an enemy who was trying to kill us.

“An ambush includes calamity never written about in any training manual. I fired at him but I don't know where my rounds landed. After 45 years, I still don't know. When I looked through my rifle scope I saw a man in the attack mode with a weapon.

“He was pointing his weapon toward my main gate where I knew there were other marines on sentry duty. I could have killed a man in July 1972, a man who was trying to kill Royal Marines that I was in a covert ambush to protect. I was acting under orders. This is a Catch-22 monstrosity but the act of ambush is legal in the eyes of our defence laws.”

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