Murdered soldier’s daughter: IRA man Joe McCann got what he deserved

Joe McCann was blamed for the murder of Royal Green Jackets soldier Robert Bankier in 1971

Joe McCann was blamed for the murder of Royal Green Jackets soldier Robert Bankier in 1971

The prosecution of two former soldiers for the alleged murder of Joe McCann is “diabolical”, according to the daughter of a soldier allegedly killed by the IRA man in 1971.

Anna-Marie Bankier, whose father was shot dead in Belfast during the Troubles in a killing blamed on Official IRA man McCann, said the man responsible for killing her dad “got what he deserved”.

Mr McCann, 24, was shot dead in disputed circumstances in Belfast on April 15, 1972.

Two former soldiers are to be prosecuted for allegedly murdering the IRA man.

Soldier A, now 67, and Soldier C, 65, are surviving members of the Parachute Regiment patrol which fired on Mr McCann. They face court next year in Belfast.

Unionists have united in outrage over what they see as the deepening imbalance in how the past is approached.

Anna-Marie Bankier believes the soldiers are “being hounded just for doing their jobs”.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Miss Bankier also expressed sympathy for the families of the two soldiers.

She was two-years-old when her father, Robert Bankier, was shot dead on May 21, 1971, aged 25. A corporal in the Royal Green Jackets, Robert Bankier’s murder was blamed on Joe McCann.

Miss Bankier, 47, who lives in Ipswich where she looks after her ailing mother, told the Daily Telegraph: “From what I have been told, there was an investigation many years ago and these men were cleared of any wrongdoing.

“So why after all these years are they being reinvestigated?

“It seems to me like they are being hounded just for doing their jobs. It is diabolical and disgusting after all this time. They are old guys now. What purpose is it serving?”

She added: “We knew that McCann was killed a year after my father died and the two others were killed later. As far as I know, all the people responsible for my dad’s death are now dead.

“I believe in karma. And that what goes around comes around. If he killed my dad, then he got what he deserved.

“I feel sorry for the families of these two soldiers who have been charged. It is not good for them to have this raked up again. I hope they get off.”

Miss Bankier was just a few days short of her second birthday at the time of her father’s murder.

She said: “I have no memories at all of my father, so when I was growing up I had to rely on what my mother told me about him. She always said that he was a good person.”