Francis Bradley inquest yet to be held eight years after attorney-general order

A new inquest into the SAS shooting of Francis Bradley has not been held eight years after it was was ordered by attorney-general John Larkin

THE first Troubles related inquest ordered by attorney-general John Larkin has yet to be held – eight years after it was ordered.

Francis Bradley, whose name was later added to the IRA’s roll of honour, was killed during an ambush near Toome in February 1986.

The 20-year-old’s family believe he was the victim of a ‘shoot to kill’ policy.

His family has now called on secretary of state Karen Bradley to meet them to discuss the case.

A fresh inquest into his death was the first ordered by the attorney-general John Larkin QC a day after he took office in 2010.

Despite the passing of almost a decade, that inquest has yet to take place.

Mr Bradley was shot a total of eight times.

His family believe he could have been arrested. Two rifles were found nearby.

At the original inquest in 1987, the two soldiers who fired the fatal shots were not compelled to give evidence, although other members of the regiment did.

Files, including RUC interviews with the soldiers involved, and potentially important intelligence material were withheld.

His brother Brian Bradley said his family want the truth to be made public.

“My mother and father are getting older and our children are growing up,” he said.

“We want closure and we are happy to meet the Attorney General and very happy to meet the secretary of state to put that to her.

“We believe the delays we have faced would be unacceptable anywhere else.

“Does the secretary of state think it’s acceptable that the attorney general has called this and she won’t release the funds for it?”

Family solicitor Fearghál Shiels said the Supreme Court in London will consider later this month when next of kin can sue in the domestic courts for a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights arising from the failure to conduct inquests.

“The outcome of that appeal will have implications for all families who are affected by continuing inexcusable delay,” he said

Relatives for Justice chief executive Mark Thompson wrote to the secretary of state on behalf of the family to request a meeting.

“They strongly feel that you should hear first-hand precisely the impact that the decision not to hold an inquest after being directed to do so is having,” he said.

Sinn Féin assembly member Linda Dillon said she is supportive of the Bradley family and believes Karen Bradley should meet them.

“I think it’s a disgrace they have had to wait so long,” she said.

“It’s actually very traumatizing not to have the truth about what happened, and that is all they are asking for.”

SDLP assembly member Patsy McGlone knew the dead man and his family and said they deserve the truth and a new inquest.

“Like many others in the local community, I have serious concerns about what happened that night particularly how Francis was set up, and by whom, for execution by the SAS who made no effort whatsoever to arrest him,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the Northern Ireland Office declined to comment.

Mr Larkin also declined to comment.

Irish News