‘Uncooperative witnesses’ claim in Kathleen Thompson case

An inquest hearing into the shooting dead of a Derry mother of six almost 50 years ago has heard claims of “uncooperative witnesses”.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 12:22 pm
The late Kathleen Thompson.

Kathleen Thompson (47) was shot dead by the British Army as she stood outside her home in Creggan in November 1971.

At a preliminary hearing today, Andrew Moriarty, a barrister for the next of kin, raised the issue of former soldiers who he said had not co-operated with the Coroner’s Service.

Referring to several mitary witnesses who had not responded to requests for information, Mr Moriarty said it was an issue the Coroner would have to address.

He said there were various options open to the Coroner, Judge Sandra Crawford, including going to the High Court to summons witnesses who were outside the jurisdiction of NI but still within the wider UK.

The Coroner said this was an issue she was keeping under consideration, adding that she was aware of attempts to contact some witnesses without success.

Judge Crawford said she would approach the issue with ‘necessity, relevance and proportionality’ in mind.

The hearing also heard that it was hoped to complete the evidence phase of the inquest in June, when the proceedings resume.

Ian Skelt QC, counsel for the Coroner, said the inquest would resume on June 21 and it was intended the final military witnesses would give evidence then.

He said they were aware of ‘considerable pressure’ on court lists and the Coroner’s Service was keen not to take up court days that were not required.