28/02/2003

Disputed death probe ineffective rules judge

A High Court judge in Belfast ruled today that no effective investigation was held into the death of Derry woman Kathleen Thompson who was shot dead by the British army in 1971.

Solicitors acting on behalf of the Thompson family lodged a judicial review in the High Court. The legal team claimed that the Secretary of State was under obligation to carry out an Article 2 investigation as required by the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act.

Speaking on local radio at lunchtime, Minty Thompson, daughter of Kathleen, said she "was overjoyed at the ruling".

The Secretary of State may yet appeal the judgement, however campaigners believe today's events mark a turning point for other families contesting similar incidents.

During the early hours of November 6 1971 200 members of the Royal Green Jackets moved into Creggan to search a house in Rathlin Drive. As they were leaving the area, a soldier opened fire, shooting dead Kathleen Thompson – a 47-year-old mother of six children who was standing in her back garden at Rathlin Drive. She was killed instantly by a single shot in the chest.

The army claimed that two shots were fired at them, and that they had replied with eight shots, one of which killed Kathleen Thompson.

(GMcG)

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