Northern Ireland

Bernard Watt inquest: 'No evidence' he had exploding device

Bernard Watt Image copyright Watt family
Image caption Bernard Watt was shot by the Army during a riot in Belfast in 1971

There is no evidence that a man killed during a north Belfast riot 46 years ago was holding an explosive device when he was shot, an inquest has heard.

Bernard Watt was 28 when he was shot dead in Ardoyne in February 1971.

Soldiers told the new inquest into his killing on Monday that they shot him as he was about to throw a bomb.

But acting state pathologist Prof Jack Crane told the inquest on Tuesday that the injuries sustained by Mr Watt did not support the soldiers' claims.

One soldier had said that Mr Watt dropped a bomb he was holding when he was shot, and it had exploded and "blew him down the street".

'No paramilitary links'

Prof Crane said there was no evidence that Mr Watt had been thrown in to the air by an exploding device.

Mr Watt's family disputes the soldiers' version of events and his widow told the inquest he had no links to paramilitaries.

The new inquest into Mr Watt's killing began on Monday, and was ordered in 2012 by the attorney general, who asked for a number of controversial Troubles killings by the security forces to be re-examined.

An initial inquest held in July 1971 resulted in an open verdict.

In February, the Ministry of Defence defended a Parachute Regiment Facebook appeal asking former soldiers for information about Mr Watt's killing.

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