A seventeen-year-old girl was pointlessly shot dead by a British soldier while she hugged her boyfriend, a coroner has confirmed.
Marian Brown was killed on June 10 1972 near a British Army checkpoint in Roden Street in southwest Belfast.
She did not pose a threat to anybody, Judge David McFarland said, but he accepted claims by British soldiers that they “acted in self-defence” due to previous shooting in the area.
Thomas Corrigan was badly injured as he and his first love were caught in the crossfire.
He said: “I am pleased that the truth has finally come out. It makes a difference but it won’t bring back Marian. It won’t bring back the child that we lost and of course it still creates problems for me and Marian’s family.”
The coroner was unable to identify the soldier who fired the fatal bullet as he delivered his preliminary ruling in Belfast.
He said: “Neither Marian Brown nor anyone at her locality was acting in a manner that could reasonably or honestly have been perceived as posing a threat of death or injury... the force used by that soldier by firing in the direction of Marian Brown was not justified as it was more than was absolutely necessary.”
There was an “inadequate” investigation afterwards, the coroner added.
Mr Corrigan was walking with Miss Brown and her sister. She was going from her home at Stanhope Drive in Belfast to her sister’s house, they were parting ways and sharing a last hug when he heard loud firing erupt.
After the inquest he said: “She was a beautiful girl really, not even a woman, and yes she was pregnant with our child. To lose her was a massive part of my life.”
Miss Brown’s brother Richard Brown said he was sorry it had taken 46 years to prove something the family knew from day one.
“She was just a happy-go-lucky kid - she never got a chance.”