Ballymurphy victim’s daughter ‘stunned’ by behaviour of army her father served

Ballymurphy inquest Credit: PA

The daughter of one of the victims of the Ballymurphy shootings involving British soldiers in west Belfast 50 years ago has said she is “stunned” by the behaviour of the army that her father was “so proud” to have served.

Anne Ferguson, the daughter of John McKerr, said her family entered into the inquest process because her father’s name was being “tarnished as a gunman”.

Mr McKerr was a former soldier in the British Army who lost his hand in the Second World War.

She said the verdict on Tuesday that he was innocent meant they had set out what they wanted to achieve.

The coroner ruled all of the 10 people who were shot and killed in Ballymurphy were “entirely innocent” of any wrongdoing and that their deaths were unjustified.

The Army was found to be responsible for nine of the 10 deaths in August 1971.

But the coroner was unable to say who shot Mr McKerr.

Ms Ferguson said: “We set out to prove that our father was not a gunman, he was innocent and we’ve achieved it.

“We don’t know who did it and quite frankly whoever did it will have to meet their own maker.

“I’m just sorry an institution like the British army that he was so fond of has been brought into disrepute.”

Ms Ferguson said her father was at military school as a boy.

“He was a Catholic,” she said.

Anne Ferguson Credit: Liam McBurney/PA

“He was proud of being in the military.

“The only thing he belonged to was the British Legion.

“Politics, when spoken about in our house, was work, school, education, church.”

She thanked all the other families for supporting her family through the process.

“We thought we were so hard done by, but compared to what happened these other families in a way we were lucky,” Ms Ferguson said.