A CORONER has ruled that the use of force in the killing of a young Pomeroy man 46 years ago was ‘unjustified.’
Paddy McElhone was unarmed when he was shot in the back close to his home at Limehill on August 7, 1974.
A legacy inquest into his death was held at Omagh Courthouse last month and has now concluded. The Coroner, Mrs Justice Keegan, found that Paddy McElhone was ‘shot in cold blood, without warning’ and was ‘no threat’ to anyone.
Speaking following the conclusion of the Inquest, members of the McElhone family said it had been very difficult living with the consequences of the killing.
In a statement read by his niece, Oonagh McElhone, they said Paddy had been killed at his home fields in Pomeroy.
“It has been a very long road to get to where we have arrived at today. Judge Keegan said today that an opportunity had been missed. It took the Ministry of Defence from 1974 until January 2021 to openly admit that Paddy’s killing could not be justified,” they said.
“Our family always knew that Paddy was an innocent man, taken from his home and shopt by a British soldier for no reason. Paddy was a son and brother. His parents went to their graves broken-hearted knowing that their innocent son had been killed, without justification, explanation or apology.
“Today, as a family, we feel that today Judge Keegan at this Inquest has at long last exonerated Paddy in full. The truth of Paddy’s killing by a British soldier has been heard. He was shot from behind through the heart. Judge Keegan in her ruling described the killing as cold-blooded and unjustified.
“As a family we can grieve Paddy, and respect his memory as an innocent man.”