Family concerned over inquest delay

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The solicitor acting on behalf of the relatives of a Dunmurry man who was shot in the Shankill area in 1973 spoke of her concerns over the delay in the inquest.

Patricia Coyle, was speaking at the preliminary hearing at the coroner’s court last week into the death of Daniel Joseph Carson from Brooke Drive, in Dunmurry who died in 1973 after an attack by a Loyalist terrorist group.

The Catholic man (29) and father of one was shot as he left a hardware merchants in November 1973 and within minutes the 1st Battalion The Queen’s Regiment were on the scene.

Last year Senior Coroner John Leckey criticised the time some historical inquests including Mr Carson’s were taking.

The oldest outstanding case relates to the death of Bernard Watt, who was shot by soldiers in Ardoyne in early 1971.

In 2014 Mr Leckey told a hearing, “Looking at how difficult inquests have been held in England I feel embarrassed - the London bombings, Princess Diana, we all know these big inquests.”

Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights commits member states to carrying out independent, transparent and timely investigations into the deaths of citizens.

In 2012 the European Court of Human Rights ruled the Government had violated the rights of two families by failing to hold an inquest into the deaths of two IRA men for 22 years.

Mr Carson’s death is one of a number of cases which are being examined by the Coroners Services following direction from Attorney General John Larkin QC in 2012.

Coroner Suzanne Anderson also spoke of her concerns, ‘that every avenue is exhausted.’

The court was told vital clues may be contained in historic military records held at a Ministry of Defence (MoD) warehouse at Swadlincote, south Derbyshire.

The solicitor said that she could not understand why it has taken such a long time to check this out and claimed files were on a searchable database operated by TNT Archive Services and could be accessed by entering names and/or dates.

The court also heard that documents including military log sheets may also be held at the regimental museum in England.

Representing the MOD Barrister Peter Coll, claimed that the Swadlincote archive had a searchable database.

“Our instructions are that the holdings there do not lend themselves to searches by name or date,” he said.

It was also revealed that information from the police and a report by the Serious Crime Review Team were almost ready to be disclosed.

Another preliminary hearing has been scheduled for March.

According to press reports at the time of Mr Carson’s death he was shot as he left his work at Dayton Street at the junction at Greenland Street off Peter’s Hill in the Shankill.

A gunman at the corner stood in the road and aimed a handgun with both hands. He fired up to three shots hitting Daniel Carson, once in his head.

The victim lost control of the car and it crashed into a wall. He later died in hospital from his injuries.

A workman ran to the car and said that she found him bleeding from a head wound.

She stayed with him and said prayers until police arrived.