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Soldier not justified in firing shot that killed pregnant teen Marian Brown in Belfast, inquest finds

A pregnant 17-year-old girl was killed in an exchange of fire between the army and IRA in west Belfast in 1972, an inquest has found this morning.

Coroner David McFarland said it was more likely that the bullet which killed Marian Brown was discharged by a soldier, and found the soldiers were acting in defence of themselves or others.

However, he also found that the use of force by the soldier who fired the fatal bullet was not justified, adding that no shot should have been fired unless the soldier had a clear target and clear line of fire.

The soldier who fired the fatal shot was narrowed down to two, who were referred to by ciphers B or C

Mr McFarland made his findings on Monday following a second inquest into the death of Ms Brown.

Ms Brown died on June 10, 1972 after being shot on Roden Street as she kissed her boyfriend Thomas Corrigan good night.

The circumstances of the incident have been disputed.

A fresh inquest was ordered into her death in 2013 by the attorney general, which heard a wide range of witnesses including those that had been there at the time as well as soldiers give evidence.

The soldiers maintain they were firing at what they believed was an IRA gunman/gunmen, although the other eye witnesses dispute there were any other gun men in the area at the time.

Mr McFarland found on Monday morning that on the balance of probability from the evidence heard, an eight man patrol of soldiers from the Royal Anglican Regiment were returning fire. He said it was likely that an IRA gun man had fired at the patrol from a car seen by some witnesses at the Grosvenor Road entrance to Roden Street.

The inquest also found that Marian Brown was struck by a number of bullets, but the fatal shot passed through her neck. Mr McFarland found that on the balance of probability it was not possible to determine the type of bullet which killed Ms Brown, or the direction it had come from.

Belfast Telegraph