A suspect in the sectarian loyalist shooting of a young Catholic father vowed to clear all “taigs” from the area, a lawyer told an inquest this week.
Daniel Carson, from Dunmurry, was gunned down as he left work at a hardware merchant in the Protestant Shankill area of Belfast in November 1973. He was the only Catholic employed at the company.
A person was seen by a witness with arms outstretched and holding a gun as the family man was shot through a car window and the vehicle he was driving careered off the road.
Barrister Sean Doran QC said: “She screamed at him to leave Danny alone - that he had never done anyone any harm.”
The witness, known as witness A, was a colleague of Mr Carson.
She named the person, known as S1, who fired several shots from a Webley revolver close to the dead man’s workplace. He was released without charge after witness A withdrew her evidence.
Witness A had recalled a conversation with S1 about 18 months before the killing, according to Mr Doran.
“He referred to the Troubles and said that they had all the taigs out of McIlhagga’s [a neighbouring business] and were going to clear them all off the road.”
S1 was said to have added: “There is one left in your place but he will run when he sees the rest running.”
Witness A said shortly before the shooting she was asked whether “that taig” was still working in the factory.
Despite initially identifying S1, witness A later withdrew her testimony to the RUC and in a subsequent investigation review she said she could not be sure the person she saw was S1.
Hearing the name, two soldiers visited S1’s house shortly after the death and he told them he had been asleep at the time of the shooting.
Reviewers later said: “Lack of positive action by army personnel who the suspect saw soon after the murder terminated all realistic chance of finding evidence.”
There was no effective witness protection scheme at the time and the RUC police said witness A was afraid of being attacked.
Mr Doran said: “They were satisfied she would have been killed and, on that basis, S1 was not charged.”
Mr Carson’s widow Anne said she was let down by those investigating his death. She said that if the RUC and British army had done their jobs properly in 1973 she would have received answers 43 years ago.
Mrs Carson added: “He was just forgotten about. I would like to see some form of justice for Danny. He was hard-working and if the police and army had done their jobs properly then we would not be here today.”