Appeal for Witnesses re Fatal Shooting of Master Patrick Crawford (15) in Royal Victoria Hospital on the 10th August 1975
The sister and brothers of 15 year old Patrick Crawford who was shot dead while walking through the grounds of the Royal Victoria Hospital on the 10th August 1975 have today launched an appeal to the public for witnesses. The siblings are particularly interested in anyone who may have been working or attending the Royal Victoria Hospital who may have witnessed the murder of their 15 year old brother.
Patrick Crawford was killed by a single high velocity shot to the chest which entered his body to the front of his chest with a downward trajectory and an exit wound to his back. The bullet was never located at the scene. At the time of the shooting he was walking with 2 ladies through the grounds of the hospital from the Grosvenor Road entrance to the Falls Road exit. The 2 female witnesses both gave evidence at the original inquest in December 1979 confirming that Patrick was in fear of walking through the grounds of the Royal on his own and had asked if he could walk with them. Patrick Crawford neither was an innocent civilian, not a member of a paramilitary organisation nor was he armed at the time of his death. The next of kin believe that Patrick was shot by a member of the army who were stationed on buildings in the Royal Victoria Hospital at that time.
The 2 ladies Mrs Kathleen Faloon and Mrs Annie Miskimmon who were with Patrick when he was shot dead have since died. Mrs Kathleen Faloon died on the 15th October 2006. Mrs Annie Miskimmon died on the 30th September 2019 at the age of 89.
The death of Master Patrick Crawford is currently the subject of a legacy inquest which is now one of 10 legacy inquests which the Presiding Coroner Mrs Siobhan Keegan hopes to fix for hearing in the near future. The fresh inquest had been prioritised by the Presiding Coroner Mrs Siobhan Keegan in 2019 because of Mrs Miskimmon’s age. The inquest had been listed for hearing in 2020 but the court timetable was interrupted by the Covid 19 pandemic. Lawyers for the Crawford siblings captured Mrs Miskimmon’s witness testimony on video in April 2019, 6 months before her death.
The next of kin attended a video link Preliminary Hearing before the Coroner Judge Philip Gilpin on the 2nd October 2020 at which the Coroner outlined the preparation which has commenced in collating all the available evidence in relation to Master Crawford’s death. Inquiries are being undertaken by the Coroner’s Service with the Royal Victoria Hospital, the MOD, PSNI, the BBC and a full media trawl together with an independent engineer’s report have been directed by the Coroner seeking all documents and materials which may assist the court in relation to the circumstances of the death of this child. A further Preliminary Hearing has been fixed in the case for the 8th January 2021 to review all documents and materials collated and disclosed to the next of kin at that stage.
The inquest into the death of Patrick was granted on the 24th September 2015 after the family made their own direct efforts and lodged submissions to the Attorney General for Northern Ireland John Larkin. The siblings’ father Patrick Crawford senior continued to campaign for a fresh investigation into Patrick’s killing until his death on 30th September 2006. The original inquest jury verdict on the 19th December 1979 returned an open verdict.
Patrick and his siblings had also tragically lost their mother Martha Crawford who was shot dead during crossfire between the army and the IRA in the Andersontown area of Belfast on the 30th March 1972, 3 years before Patrick was killed in a shooting incident. Martha Crawford was a 39 year old married mother of 10 children at the time of her death.
The Crawford family are now appealing to the public to ask anyone who has any information whatsoever in relation to their brother Patrick’s killing or who may have witnessed the killing while at or in the Royal Victoria Hospital to contact the Coroner’s Service to provide the evidence directly to the Coroner in line with the witness protocol issued by the Presiding Coroner on the 6th October 2020. The Legacy Inquest Unit is based at Laganside House, 23-27 Oxford Street, Belfast, and telephone number 0300-200-7812.
Harte Coyle Collins
9-15 Queen Street