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Judge allows naming of former soldier who has not been located

A former soldier, currently believed to be homeless, has been named at a sitting of a new inquest into the fatal shooting of teenager Marian Brown in west Belfast in 1972.

A number of his colleagues from the Third Battalion the Royal Anglian Regiment, have undertaken threat assessments over being named.

It has not been proven who was responsible for the shooting - either soldiers or paramilitaries - with the inquest examining a large volume of evidence.

Up to 12 soldiers are set to give evidence to the inquest, including the eight who were on foot patrol in the Roden Street area on the night that Ms Brown was shot. Some have applied to remain anonymous.

However, soldier D cannot be located by either the Ministry of Defence or the Coroner's Service to be approached about giving evidence because he is currently homeless.

A solicitor for the MoD argued against naming the man, saying it is "unfair" as he has not been made aware of the inquest.

But Fiona Doherty QC, acting for the Brown family, argued the soldier should be named as there is not a presumption in favour of screening witnesses. She also said there had been months, if not years, to locate him.

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Judge David McFarland ruled the soldier should be named, instead of delaying for a week.

"If he was going to appear or materialise, it would have happened before today, he will be named today," he told the inquest.

"The point made by Ms Doherty is correct, there is no presumption in favour of anonymity."

Soldier D was named as Mr Hedderman.

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