Family want new probe body body

Stephen McConomy.
Stephen McConomy.

The family of a Derry schoolboy killed by a plastic bullet 30 years ago have written to the British government urging it to set up a new body to carry out historical investigations.

Eleven-year-old Stephen McConomy was playing with friends in the Bogside in April 1982 when he was shot in the head by a British soldier.

The soldier, from the Royal Anglian Regiment, claimed he fired the shot by accident and was never prosecuted.

His death was investigated by the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) - which was reviewing killings during the Troubles - but it is now set to close because of budget cuts.

Stephen’s brother, Emmett, has written a letter to Northern Ireland Secretary of State Teresa Villiers in which he says: “I strongly believe that you, the government, have a duty to put in place a body that will investigate what happened to my brother - a child.”

“Why would your government not want to investigate what happened to a child at the hand of one of your employees?”

Emmett McConomy claimed the “shelving” of the HET occurred just as investigators were about to interview the soldier who fired the shot responsible for his brother’s death.

In his letter to Ms. Villiers, he adds: “The HET wasn’t perfect but it was something that was finding out answers.”

Mr. McConomy said his brother’s death was “child abuse carried out by the state”.