HARTE COYLE COLLINS SOLICITORS & ADVOCATES
LEGACY INQUEST INTO THE DEATH OF PATRICK DUFFY ON 24TH NOVEMBER 1978
9th FEBRUARY 2023
At an inquest hearing today Coroner Mrs Bagnall J fixed the opening of an inquest into the fatal shooting of Patrick Duffy for the 19th to 21st April 2023 at Derry Court.
Patrick Duffy was shot dead just after 9pm on the 24th of November 1978 while in 2 Maureen Avenue, Derry by members of the British army. Mr Duffy was 50 years of age at the time of his death. He was married with 6 children, one of whom, Margarita, was sitting in a car outside the house at the time of the shooting with her 7 month old nephew. He died instantly from his injuries. . It is believed that the killing was carried out by an undercover SAS unit dressed in civilian clothes who had been secreted in the property prior to the shooting for a number of days.
Pathology evidence at the original inquest, held on the 9th and 10th December 1980, confirmed that Patrick Duffy was shot up to 14 times. The same evidence confirmed that bullets were fired from his left-hand side or behind him into his back with at least 2 of these shots being at close range to the left side of his chest at close range. Mr Duffy was alone and unarmed at the time of the shooting.
The family of Mr Duffy were granted a fresh inquest by Attorney General on 22nd March 2019. This legacy inquest is one which was earmarked to heard in 2023.
Despite the MOD previously indicating that work on the sensitive military disclosure would not commence until the middle of April 2023, the Coroner took the decision to open the inquest and hear evidence in Derry for 3 days in April 2023.
The inquest will hear evidence from Mr Duffy’s family, other non-contentious evidence from witnesses who have died since the original inquest and some expert evidence. In January 2023 the family provided the Coroner’s Service with physical evidence items including the clothes their father was wearing when he was fatally shot.
Solicitor for the family, Patricia Coyle, Harte Coyle Collins, Solicitors & Advocates said today;
“My clients welcome the decision by the Coroner Mrs Bagnall J today to open this fresh inquest and hear substantive evidence in Derry Court from the 19th to the 21st of April 2023. They have waited a long time for a court to objectively scrutinise the exact circumstances of their father’s killing. They also take this opportunity to appeal to any members of the public who may have useful information about their father’s killing to contact our office in advance of the inquest opening on 02890 278227. They are grateful for any support and information the public in Derry or elsewhere can provide.”
Contact – Patricia Coyle – 02890 278227