23 MAY 2019
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Local News

Para flags ‘insensitive’

15 May 2019 - by By Sarah McKinley

The flying of Parachute Regiment flags is deeply insensitive to the family of a south Armagh man shot dead by a Paratrooper in 1971, a human rights solicitor has said.

Padraig O’Muirigh said the family of Henry Thornton have also been left in ‘great distress’ over claims part of the father-of six’s skull was used as a trophy ashtray by a paratrooper.

Mr Thornton, then 28, from Silverbridge, was murdered when he was travelling along Belfast’s Springfield Road in August 1971.

He was shot with two high velocity bullets when a paratrooper opened fire on him after his work van backfired.

The Ballymurphy inquest last week heard the sickening testimony of Henry Gow, who said a former paratrooper colleague recovered part of Mr Thornton’s skull and used it as an ashtray. 

However, on Monday, witness M597 told the court that the allegation was ‘a fantasy’. 

Padraig O’Muirigh, the family’s solicitor, told the Reporter: “We don’t know if the allegation is true or not. On the one hand you’ve got this soldier making the allegation in his book, and then obviously the same in evidence a number of days ago.


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