Plastic bullet victim’s family in talks with Villiers

Stephen McConomy.
Stephen McConomy.

The family of a Derry schoolboy killed by a plastic bullet more than 30 years ago met with NI Secretary of State Teresa Villiers today.

Eleven-years-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 claimed he fired the shot by accident and was never prosecuted.

At today’s meeting at Stormont, Stephen’s brother, Emmett, challenged Ms. Villiers to explain the British government’s “on-going failure to honour his family’s right to an independent investigation.”

Emmett McConomy described the meeting as “positive” and, in his view, “worthwhile.”

He revealed he had shown Ms Villiers a series of photos of his brother - including one taken in hospital shortly before his death and an image of him in his coffin.

“They appeared to have an impact on her,” he said. “How could they not? After all, they graphically show what happened to my brother who was only a child when he was violently removed from society. It was child abuse carried out by the state and, yet, nothing was done about it then or now.

“I sincerely hope these photos and what we told her impress upon her the importance of her government’s duty to quickly put in place a body that will investigate what happened to Stephen.”

Mr McConomy said the British government “funded, trained and employed” the person responsible for his brother’s death.

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

Mr. McConomy was accompanied to the meeting by Paul O’Connor of the Pat Finucane Centre.