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‘Celtic was his whole life’: Anthony vows to battle for his brother

COURT CASE: Anthony Thompson with a treasured family portrait of his brother David COURT CASE: Anthony Thompson with a treasured family portrait of his brother David
By Michael Jackson

THE brother of a Short Strand man who was shot dead by the British Army in 1971 has said his family “will never stop fighting for justice” as he prepares to begin civil proceedings against the MoD and Chief Constable.

37-year-old David Thompson was found lying on Seaforde Street in Short Strand after being shot by the British soldiers, although he was unarmed at the time.

Eyewitnesses said that Mr Thompson was an innocent man when he was shot on October 17, 1971.
A 1972 inquest returned an open verdict, with the British Army maintaining David was a gunman. However, it has since emerged that a number of civilian witnesses were not asked to give statements or attend the inquest. The RUC also failed to take statements from soldiers involved, instead unlawfully delegating the responsibility to military police.

A request for a subsequent inquest was rejected in 2017. However, the victim’s brother, Anthony Thompson, is now to begin civil proceedings against the Ministry of Defence and the head of the PSNI.

Speaking to Daily Belfast, Anthony insisted his brother, whose “whole life was Celtic”, was an innocent man.

“He was never involved in anything like that,” he said.

“It says in a report from the HET that he wasn’t involved in any paramilitary stuff. He just went out for a few pints on Saturday night – he was just a down to earth ordinary bloke, but he didn’t into any of that.”

He continued: “The funeral didn’t have any paramilitary trappings or anything so they can’t say he was a sniper. According to the paper and the Major he was.

“They said they shot three that day, but there was only one body found and it was Davy’s. They said they shot another one on top of a Protestant church. They sealed the whole district down for days but there was nobody else shot, nobody wounded, not a body found – they were lying. Not only that, when Davy was shot they made our Tucker, my brother, carry him over on to the Newtownards Road. They wouldn’t bring him to the hospital in the Saracen. Davy died on the way up. After Tucker got to the hospital they put him in Saracen and beat him. They also tortured him the hospital. They also interrogated him in Holywood barracks a couple of hours after Davy was shot.”

Despite his family’s hardship, Anthony said he is determined to clear his brother’s name.
“When the British army killed Davy, they just didn’t kill Davy – they killed this family,” he said.

“It killed my mother and killed the spirit of this family. It caused that ripple effect, but my mother was a very strong woman and she carried on for us. I was in jail at the time and Davy was the breadwinner, so it really hit her bad, but we’re determined to get justice, no matter how long it takes.

“This October it’s 48 years since Davy was killed, but we’ll keep fighting, just like the Ballymurphy families and everybody else that the Brits and the peelers murdered. They always say they want justice for the army and peelers, but what about us? I want Davy’s name cleared, because they said he was an IRA sniper, and that he was gunman, but they know in their hearts that he wasn’t.”

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