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shirleyvalentine
By Staff Reporter

AN eyewitness has told the Ballymurphy inquest about the last moments of several of the victims, including 50-year-old grandmother and mother-of-eight Joan Connolly, the only woman to die in the shootings.
John Maguire, also known as ‘Stan’, is now 84 years old. Mr Maguire described the shooting of victims Joan Connolly and Danny Teggart outside the Henry Taggart army base on August 9 1971.
Ten people were killed during the three days of gunfire in Ballymurphy during August 1971 following the introduction of internment.
Mr Maguire explained that he had been talking to friends on the Springfield Road that evening when shooting broke out from paratroopers at the base across the road. There were two nearby army bases, Vere Foster School and a commandeered Presbyterian Church Hall, the Henry Taggart Memorial. Soldiers from the Parachute Regiment were stationed at the hall. Mr Maguire said he took cover behind the white pillars at the entrance to an area of waste ground where there had previously been a Presbyterian manse. He said 44-year-old Danny Teggart had decided to run across the waste ground and was shot in the back, pitching forward as he fell. He said Mr Teggart had been unarmed and that he had not seen anyone else with a weapon either. He also said he could see Joan Connolly lying after she was hit, and had heard her crying, “I can’t see, I can’t see.” He thought her voice had weakened and that she lost consciousness shortly afterwards. Mrs Connolly had been shot in the face.
Mr Maguire told the inquest a friend, Tommy Delaney, put a white hanky on a stick and started waving it, but the shooting continued. He also saw another figure on the far side of the waste ground fall through a hedge. Mr Maguire said after a while an army Saracen armoured vehicle drove through the gates into a field. He said a soldier with a red beret got out of the vehicle and fired a sidearm in the direction of him and others lying with him at the gate pillars. The witness added that when the soldier moved in their direction, he decided to make a run for it through a hole in the hedge. He told the court: “I thought he was going to pick us off. I was very frightened.”
He ran to a nearby house and went in, staying there for the rest of the night. Mr Maguire was later questioned about differences in statements he had made about the shootings over the years.

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