Inquest into killing of Belfast boy by rubber bullet finds 'pages missing' from military log

Inquest into killing of Belfast boy by rubber bullet finds 'pages missing' from military log

British military logs from the day an 11-year-old boy was hit by a rubber bullet in Belfast in 1972 have been cut up, a coroner's court has been told.

A barrister for the family of Francis Rowntree said extracts from at least half a dozen pages were missing.

Fiona Doherty QC said: "These are from crucial periods of time. The pages go down right through the time period when the incident involving Francis Rowntree took place. I have never seen anything like it."

Francis Rowntree died two days after being hit by the bullet while walking through the Divis Flats complex close to Belfast's Falls Road in April 1972.

Controversy surrounds the shooting, with disputed claims on whether the boy was struck directly or injured by a ricochet, and if the bullet had been doctored to make it potentially cause more harm.

The long-awaited inquest, which opened on Monday, was ordered by Attorney General John Larkin.

Martin Wolfe QC, representing the UK's Ministry of Defence (MoD), told the court he would endeavour to obtain an explanation why the "historic" documents had been cut out.

Judge Brian Sherrard said: "It may not be in a position to fill in the blanks but I would ask the MoD to provide somebody who could provide a statement concerning this."

The schoolboy's family believe the inquest is the last chance to establish the truth about what happened.

More in this Section

Recently uncovered love letter reveals director's 'schoolboy crush' on Maureen O'HaraRecently uncovered love letter reveals director's 'schoolboy crush' on Maureen O'Hara

Over 7,500 children waiting more than a year for occupational therapy assessmentOver 7,500 children waiting more than a year for occupational therapy assessment

Service commemorates British Army’s deployment in Northern IrelandService commemorates British Army’s deployment in Northern Ireland

Funeral of Roy Keane's father Mossie hears he 'was very proud of all his children'Funeral of Roy Keane's father Mossie hears he 'was very proud of all his children'


Lifestyle

Five things for the week ahead with Des O'Driscoll.Five things for the week ahead

From Liverpool’s beat-pop to Bristol’s trip-hop, Irish writer Karl Whitney explains the distinctive musical output of individual cities in the UK, writes Marjorie Brennan.Sounds of the City: The musical output of individual UK cities

As landlords’ enclosures of villages and commonages during England’s industrial revolution drove landless countrymen into the maws of the poet William Blake’s “dark Satanic mills”, a romantic nostalgia for the countryside began to grow.Damien Enright: Great writers took inspiration from walking

Take no risks, ‘do all the right things’, and you’ll lead a comfortable, but dull, existence. ‘Living dangerously’, on the other hand, yields ‘highs’ of excitement usually followed, alas, by pain andRichard Collins: Live fast and die young or last up to 500 years

More From The Irish Examiner