Belfast Telegraph

Veteran (78) demands PSNI clears name over Belfast Troubles' shooting

Chelsea Pensioner David Griffin (78) said he was told just weeks ago that PSNI detectives are still committed to reviewing the incident in July 1972
Chelsea Pensioner David Griffin (78) said he was told just weeks ago that PSNI detectives are still committed to reviewing the incident in July 1972
Ralph Hewitt

By Ralph Hewitt

A former Royal Marine questioned over the death of a man in north Belfast almost half a century ago has threatened to take the police to court for "blackening" his name.

Chelsea Pensioner David Griffin (78) said he was told just weeks ago that PSNI detectives are still committed to reviewing the incident in July 1972.

On the night in question his commanding officer received intelligence that their barracks in north Belfast was to be attacked by the IRA. Mr Griffin and five fellow Royal Marines were tasked with stopping the attack.

That night the Marines heard gunfire at around 12am and Mr Griffin saw a male aiming a weapon at the barracks. After shooting four rounds in response to the sight of the male, a firefight ensued. They would later learn that one person had died - 17-year-old Catholic labourer John Mooney.

An inquest into the death proved inconclusive, but it was disputed whether Mr Mooney had a weapon or was an innocent passer-by.

In a recent letter sent to Mr Griffin a detective chief inspector said she could not be "definitive" about the timeline for the investigation, which is now in its seventh year.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Mr Griffin called for a judicial review into his case and how it has been handled, to be paid for by the Ministry of Defence.

He wants to be questioned in court to protest his innocence.

"This has put a black mark over the training methods of the Royal Marines, the finest troops we have produced in this country," he said. "I've asked them to face me in court but they continue to kick the can down the road and consistently ignore me.

"If I keeled over and dropped dead and people speak about me 10 years later, I want to know that my good name is cleared."

He added: "My case has been hopping from one in-tray to another over the years."

In the letter to Mr Griffin, the detective said: "[The Legacy Investigation Branch] remains committed to reviewing this incident... you will be updated as and when the case is allocated."

Earlier this month Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Government promised to bring forward proposals to tackle what it calls "vexatious" claims that "undermine our Armed Forces".

The Government also said it would seek better ways in dealing with legacy issues that provide "better outcomes" for victims and survivors.

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