A friend of a schoolboy killed by a rubber bullet fired by a British soldier during street trouble in Belfast over 40 years ago is being sought as a key witness in a new inquest into the death.
He is believed to have been standing close to Francis Rowntree, aged 11, who was hit by the bullet in the city’s Divis Street area in April 1972.
The Northern Ireland Atorney General John Larkin has ordered a new Coroners Court inquest.
The witness was aged 14 at the time and a pupil at St.Peter’s Secondary School. He made a statement to the Association of Legal Justice five days after Francis was struck.
Police confirmed today that the Coroners Office is trying to trace him in advance of a fresh inquest and have asked him to contact them (0845 600 8000 ext 29166), the coroner’s office (02890446833) or the Rowntree family solicitor Padraig O Muirigh (02890230222).
During a previous preliminary hearing last year, it emerged that a soldier who there at the time of the shooting may not be able to attend because of heart problems. But a second military witness, identified as Soldier A, would appear even though it was claimed he could not recall the incident.