Fresh inquest into rubber bullet death

Published Friday, 24 January 2014
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The Attorney General has granted a new inquest into the death of a young Derry man in 1973.

Fresh inquest into rubber bullet death
A street protest which was held after Thomas Friel's death in 1973. (© Derry Journal)

Thomas Friel, 21, was struck by a rubber bullet in Creggan as he was returning home after a night out on 18 May, 1973 and died four days later.

It has now emerged that a fresh inquest has been ordered by the Attorney General John Larkin after documents relating to the his death were uncovered by the Pat Finucane Centre, which were not part of the original inquest.

The centre said that the Ministry of Defence had withheld scientific data showing that the Ministry was aware that rubber bullets were more dangerous than had been admitted publicly.

The human rights group also revealed that the Attorney General has considered a new pathology report commissioned by the Historical Enquiries Team which questions the finding of the original post-mortem.

A spokesperson for the Friel family said in a statement: "We have had years of lies. After more than forty years they must now accept that Thomas was killed by a rubber bullet.

"These documents show that the British government knew how dangerous the rubber bullets were, but were more concerned with the cover-up than the people they were killing.

"Our thoughts are with the other families who were affected, those who were injured or killed because the British government were happy to use these deadly weapons on our streets."

© UTV News
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