Northern Ireland

Marian Brown: Ex-Army officer gives shooting account

Marian Brown
Image caption Marian Brown was shot dead moments after kissing her boyfriend goodnight

The commander of an Army patrol which opened fire in a disputed shooting on the night a pregnant teenager was killed has appeared at a new inquest into her death.

'Soldier E' gave evidence from behind a curtain about the night Marian Brown died.

He explained he was commanding the Royal Anglian regiment in west Belfast in June 1972.

He said a vehicle checkpoint was set up shortly before the girl was killed.

He said the shooting began when a gunman in a car in the Roden Street area fired shots at five people who were out walking after midnight.

He said the five civilians fell to the ground "shouting and screaming".

'Reckless in the extreme'

'Soldier E' said he believed the weapon was a 'Thompson' machine gun because of the rapid fire.

He also said this was followed by gunmen opening fire from both the Grovenor Road Junction and from a nearby house.

'Soldier E' rejected a suggestion from a family lawyer that he was "reckless in the extreme" to order his patrol to return fire while, as he claimed, civilians were lying on the ground.

Concluding her cross-examination, the lawyer told 'Soldier E' he was the only military witness to claim he had seen "civilians being shot at".

She said this was part of "a manufactured story you thought you could get away with".

The witness replied "No, mam".

The teenager's family claim she was killed by shots fired by soldiers.

The inquest resumes next week.

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