Belfast Telegraph

Second UVF sniper fired at civilians in Ballymurphy massacre

By Staff Reporter

The UVF had two snipers firing on civilians during the Ballymurphy massacre in which 11 innocent Catholics were shot dead - and the name of the second man has now been revealed.

On Friday, the terror gang named ex-soldier Tommy West, a trained marksman who died in 1980, as one of the gunmen involved in the August 1971 slaughter.

The revelation came ahead of a fresh inquest into the killings due to begin in September.

But the Sunday Life revealed yesterday that a second sniper was also firing on civilians, the majority of whom were shot by members of the Parachute Regiment from the Henry Taggart base.

He was veteran loyalist Derek Menice, who died in 2010 after turning his back on the UVF and becoming a born-again Christian.

The Steyr sniper rifles the pair used had been converted to fire 7.62 rounds - the same as those used in the Army's SLR rifles. That is why it was thought all of the casualties had been hit by bullets fired by paratroopers.

It is further claimed that a Lee Enfield 303 rifle was in the possession of the UVF.

It is understood at least two of these weapons were used by the UVF to shoot at civilians during the massacre. They are believed to have since been destroyed.

West and Menice were operating from maisonettes in the loyalist Springmartin estate during the three-day massacre.

UVF sources claim the gang fired into the Ballymurphy district in response to IRA gun attacks on the barracks.

They say stray bullets from Provisional and Official IRA guns sometimes hit loyalist houses in Springmartin leading to retaliation.

UVF sources believe there is a hidden agenda behind its sudden rush to tell all about the group's role in the Ballymurphy Massacre.

One veteran said: "My belief is that they are trying to stall the inquest because of the embarrassment it will cause the British Government.

"These inquests could lead to the Prime Minister being forced to apologise publicly to the families of the victims, like what happened with Bloody Sunday."

Belfast Telegraph

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