Angela D’Arcy remembered

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This week marks the 40th anniversary of the death of a young Fermanagh woman shot and killed by an off-duty British soldier.

Angela D’Arcy was 24 when she was killed in Enniskillen as she visited a woman about an altar cloth.

The youngest of a family of five, she had spent much of her time volunteering with the Red Cross and Apostolic Workers.

On November 25 1981, her life was cut short when she killed by a ‘drunk’ British soldier.

Reports from the time said she had been standing at the door of a house talking to a woman when a man approached. He produced a gun and demanded money. When Ms D’Arcy refused, he shot her in the head and she died almost immediately.

The next day a British soldier was charged with murder.

In a book by two priests, Fr Raymond Murray and Fr Denis Faul, they report a statement from Ms D’Arcy’s mother Josephine, who described the moment she heard about her daughter’s death.

“Angela said she was going to see a lady about an altar cloth,” she said.

“I was in bed at 1.45am and heard noises in the house, I stayed in bed. I heard a footstep on the stairs, I heard someone going into Phillip’s room and I heard him say, ‘I have bad news for you...your sister was shot’.

“The RUC man came in and stood at my bedside and told me what had happened.”

She later said that a local priest visited her and “said he had given Angela the last rites at Tully’s Corner”.

“He was very shocked about it and could not believe it had happened,” she said.

“Nobody had told me by morning that a British soldier was involved.”

At the trial of the soldier, the court heard claims that he was drunk. The charge was reduced to manslaughter and he was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Mrs D’Arcy later said: “I want the world to know the truth about my daughter’s death and about how badly we feel about the trial.

“We feel the soldier should have been convicted of murder.”

Meanwhile, the relatives of two victims of British and loyalist killers have lost a legal challenge to a proposed ban on conflict-related prosecutions.

Patricia Burns and Daniel McCready were seeking to judicially review plans which would also end legacy-related civil litigation and inquests. Their lawyers argued the intended amnesty represents an unconstitutional attack on the rule of law.

With British Direct Ruler Brandon Lewis expected to table a bill in the Westminster parliament next month, a judge was asked to make advisory declarations on the lawfulness of the proposals.

However, the judge refused to consider the case, claiming it was “unarguable and constitutionally impermissible”.

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