Aidan McAnespie manslaughter trial told soldiers didn't check if anyone hurt after shooting

The trial of a military veteran accused of the manslaughter of Aidan McAnespie has been told soldiers didn't try to find out if anyone had been shot when three rounds were fired from inside a sangar at a border checkpoint.On trial at Laganside courthouse in Belfast is former Grenadier Guardsman David Holden, 52.He denies the unlawful killing of Mr McAnespie in February 1988.The 23-year-old was shot just moments after walking past a border checkpoint in Aughnacloy, County Tyrone.

Aidan McAnespie was killed in February 1988 (PA) Credit: Press Association Images

On day three of the trial a Grenadier Guards sergeant described how a machine gun at the army post was checked before Guardsman David Holden was put in charge of the weapon.Within minutes the sergeant heard the crack of gunshots passing over his head.He told the court he ran to a sangar where he found David Holden standing beside the machine gun.The sergeant said: "I asked what happened, and he said 'I squeezed the trigger'."The witness said Holden looked to be in shock: "He was pale, a pale pallor, expressionless, with his mouth open. Someone who was clearly upset by what had happened."The sergeant told the court he found three empty bullet cases on the sangar floor, and then unloaded all remaining rounds from the machine gun.

The sergeant believed the incident was a negligent discharge, and he informed senior officers at a nearby Army base, but he did not look outside to see if anyone had been shot.Soon after information came from members of the public that someone had been hit.Mr McAnespie had been fatally wounded after a bullet ricocheted off the roadway and struck him in the back.The RUC then arrived and retrieved the machinegun and the spent bullet cases for examination.The trial continues.