Testimony describes soldiers shooting victims on the ground

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A Belfast woman has described looking out of her bedroom window as a British soldier shot two people as they lay on the ground during the Ballymurphy Massacre.

Ann Callaghan was 18 years old when four people were shot dead in an area facing her home close to the Henry Taggart army base in west Belfast in 1971.

They were Joan Connolly, Joseph Murphy, Noel Phillips and Daniel Teggart.

Ms Callaghan was giving evidence to the inquest into the deaths of 11 people in Ballymurphy in the days after the introduction of internment, when British soldiers sought to impose control in the area.

She said she watched a British soldier leave the base and cross the road to the entrance to the Manse field and shoot two people several times as they lay on the ground.

Ms Callaghan said the soldier used his rifle to fire at two figures, saying she recalled the barrel of the weapons being moved in a figure-of-eight motion, with the bodies jumping with each impact and their legs kicking in the air.

Another man told the inquest in Belfast that he stood at his bedroom window and watched his elder brother being shot by the British Army.

Robert Russell’s house overlooked the Manse field area and he said he was aware of shooting and screaming there when he looked out.

“My brother Gerard Russell was the last to leave the field. The soldier had his back to me. He shot my brother with a handgun. I think it was three times. I could see his body jerking,” he said. He was 12 or 13 years old at the time.

He said he had also watched another soldier walk over to a clump of felled trees in the field and use his rifle to shoot someone lying prone on the ground several times. He told the court that he did not see anyone in the field with a weapon or firing at the British Army.

The inquest also heard a statement by another local woman, Alice Harper who described going to the British army’s base three times to try and find her father, Daniel Teggart, asking if he had been arrested. She said one soldier at the base told her “We’ve no time for f-ing arresting, just killing.”

A journalist later took her to a morgue to identify her father’s body.

The inquest continues.

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