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Coroner to decide on ill soldier


Francis Rowntree

Francis Rowntree

Francis Rowntree

A coroner said he will reflect carefully before deciding if a British soldier who fired a rubber bullet that killed a Belfast schoolboy is too ill to give evidence at an inquest.

Coroner Jim Kitson told a preliminary hearing his investigation into the death of 11-year-old Francis Rowntree would be "severely hampered" if the retired soldier was unable to attend.

He stressed the man's heart condition - as outlined in a medical report - had to be a factor in his deliberations on whether to compel him to give evidence.

Francis was hit on the head by the military projectile as he played with friends at the Divis Flats complex close to Belfast's Falls Road in April, 1972.

Belfast Telegraph