Documents prove military lied about killings
Documents prove military lied about killings


Fresh inquests have been sought into the deaths of two IRA Volunteers in separate incidents in 1972 and 1973 after documents emerged which confirmed that the men were unlawfully killed by British soldiers.

Recently uncovered British military archives show that an IRA volunteer shot dead by the British army in 1972 was the victim of a planned ambush.

Daniel McAreavey (pictured, left) was shot and killed by British soldiers at the junction of Bosnia Street and Plevna Street in the lower Falls area. Local witnesses at the time stated that the 21-year-old was wounded and then executed.

The British military claimed that one of their units happened to be passing when they were fired upon by a gunman and that they then engaged with him. However, a classified file from the 2nd Battalion of the Anglian Regiment states that Mr McAreavey was caught in an “area ambush” which is military parlance for a kill zone.

A record for October 6, 1972 read: “Area ambush in Raglan Street - Plevana St - Osman St Daniel McAreavey shot dead and 2 gunmen wounded by SF. (Security Forces).

Ciaran MacAirt of the Paper Trail organisation, who found the archives said: “This is an admission by the British Army that Daniel McAreavey was caught and killed in a deliberate British military ambush. This archive completely subverts the British narrative of an accidental patrol that happened upon the scene.”

He noted the use the generic term SF or “Security Forces” points to the involvement of another unit, possibly the notorious military assassination unit, the MRF.

He also noted the British soldiers called the area of their ambush and kill ‘the Reservation’, “as if this was some sick hunt and the people were animals”.

“We can be sure that the British Army’s area ambush was a deliberate plan to trap and kill its targets. There was nothing accidental in the deployment of British troops in the area at that time.”

Padraig O Muirigh of O Muirigh Solicitors said the McAreavey family had always held the view that their loved one was killed unlawfully by the British Army.

“In recent years new witness testimony has come to light from two individuals who spoke to the deceased as he lay injured after an initial burst of fire. Their evidence supports the proposition that the deceased had died after sustaining fatal injuries in a second burst of fire as he lay injured on the ground,” he said.

“This find by Paper Trail is further evidence of a cover-up in relation to the circumstances of Mr McAreavey’s death. It is clear that there was no adequate RUC investigation at the time. The Royal Military Police took the statement from the soldiers, a derogation by the police to the military of their duty to investigate. It is also highly unusual that there was no autopsy carried out on the deceased’s body.”


A fresh inquest is also being sought into the separate killing of an IRA man in 1973 after documents confirm British soldiers did not follow their own ‘yellow card’ rules of engagement.

Brian Smyth (pictured, right) was killed after members of the Parachute Regiment opened fire on a group of men in Ardoyne in April 1973. Three other men were wounded in the incident, one of whom suffered permanent brain damage.

The British army originally claimed the men were armed but this was disputed by eyewitnesses, including a nun, who maintained the men were not carrying weapons.

One of the injured men was later convicted of having a gun during the incident -- before being acquitted on a retrial after one of the soldiers involved revealed he was told to lie and claim that they were armed.

The newly uncovered document, which dates from 1977, considered the pros and cons of whether the British government should provide an out-of-court settlement to the injured men and the mother of the dead man, Mary Smyth.

Mrs Smyth was herself killed along with her 10-year-old grandson after a loyalist fire bomb attack at her Oldpark Avenue home in 1978.

The document confirms that no firearms were found on the men and that there was no forensic evidence to indicate that they were armed.

The British army was also worried following the allegations made by the soldier who came forward and the subsequent acquittal that “the evidence given by the soldiers concerned is bound to be suspect” and they they might face prosecution.

Mr O Muirigh said that the original RUC investigation “failed to establish the facts of this matter” and that no evidence was taken from civilian witnesses.

“These grave failings in the RUC investigation and subsequent inquest could be remedied by a fresh inquest,” he said.

“We would appeal to any of those present with Mr Smyth when he was shot and any other witnesses to the incident to contact our office”.

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