The inquest into the murder of Daniel Carson, a 29 year old Catholic who was shot dead as he left his job on the Shankhill Road on the 1st November 1973, commenced at Laganside Courthouse on Monday 20th February 2017. The inquest, which is one of only two legacy inquests listed for hearing in 2016/2017, is due to run for up to 3 weeks. Daniel Carson was shot dead when leaving his job at Batty Bros hardware store in the Shankill area of Belfast on 1 November 1973. Mr Carson was the only Catholic employee of the organisation at the time of his killing.
The inquest hearing will involve judicial scrutiny by a High Court Judge of the circumstances of Mr Carson’s killing. Immediately after Mr Carson was shot dead, members of the RUC and the British army quickly appeared at the scene. A civilian eye witness to the shooting identified the suspect, recognising the suspect person as Mr Carson’s killer. However the suspect was not arrested until 4 days after the shooting and was subsequently released without charge. No-one has ever been convicted of the killing which at the time was attributed to an unidentified loyalist group.
An inquest was previously held in respect of Mr Carson’s death in 1974. However after a tenacious campaign by Mr Carson’s family members and a search for new evidence, the Attorney General directed a fresh inquest into Mr Carson’s death. Mr Carson’s family have continued to search for the truth of what happened Mr Carson for over 40 years and are still without answers. The Inquest may present the family with an opportunity to finally get to the truth as the Court has compelled the attendance of both the eye witness who identified the shooter at the time of the murder, and the suspect. Both will be subject to cross examination by the legal representatives for the family.
The eyewitness to the shooting attended to give evidence to this inquest earlier this week. The witness recalled being told by police detectives involved in the investigation at the time that the witness’ evidence was unreliable and could not be used to secure a prosecution of the suspect, despite having been only 3 or 4 yards from the gunman at the time of the incident and being able to provide the suspects name and address to police. The police do not have this recorded in their records from the time. This eyewitness was therefore not called to give evidence at the first inquest in 1974.
Anne Carson, the widow of Mr Carson, said today;
“This is our last chance to see justice for Danny’s death. If anyone knows anything about the shooting please come forward and provide any information you have.”
Harte Coyle Collins, Solicitors & Advocates representing the family said today:
“Mr Carson’s family have been committed to searching for the truth into what happened Daniel on 1 November 1973 and who is accountable for same. They want to see justice for Daniel’s murder. I would urge any member of the public who may have information in relation to this killing to come forward and make contact with our offices as soon as possible – it’s not too late.”
Harte Coyle Collins Solicitors
Ground Floor Sturgen Building
9-15 Queen Street, Belfast, BT1 6EA
Tel: (028) 9027 8227