Belfast Telegraph

'Disappeared' victim shot in head

A man who was murdered and secretly buried by republicans in Northern Ireland nearly 40 years ago was shot four times in the back of the head, an inquest has heard.

Peter Wilson became known as one of the "disappeared" after the 21-year-old went missing in 1973 in Belfast.

His remains were found buried at a beach in Co Antrim last November after information on his murder was passed to the authorities, though his parents had died without ever knowing what happened their son.

Relatives always blamed the IRA for his death and the inquest heard that investigators who located his body received claims the man was shot by republicans acting without the sanction of the IRA.

After the inquest at Belfast Coroner's Court heard confirmation that the vulnerable murder victim, who had learning difficulties, had been shot in the head, coroner John Leckey described it as "an execution".

The man's family later said they were relieved that their tragic wait to recover their loved one's remains had ended.

"Today brings us closer to finding closure for our family," they said. "The circumstances of Peter's death still causes us great distress even after all these years.

"Peter was much loved and we are so glad that we have been finally able to lay him to rest in Milltown (cemetery) and to finally have his death acknowledged and recorded at this inquest."

Deputy State Pathologist for Northern Ireland Dr Peter Ingram said the remains recovered at Waterfoot beach revealed the 21-year-old had been shot four times in the head, causing "very rapid death".

Mr Leckey asked: "This was really an execution?" Dr Ingram answered: "Yes."

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