Family of shot Coalisland internee want a new inquest

Hugh Coney
Hugh Coney

The family of a Coalisland man who was shot dead while trying to escape from Long Kesh internment camp over 40 years ago have called for a fresh inquest into his death.

Hugh Gerard Coney, 24 from Annaghmore, was shot in the back as he and other internees tried to break out of the prison in November 1974.

An inquest held in May 1975 delivered an open verdict and now his family have said they want his death to be re-investigated by a coroner.

Mr Coney was detained without charge in June 1973, his name was added to the republican “roll of honour” after his death.

A Historical Enquiries Team report has said British soldiers involved in the incident gave differing accounts of what happened on the night he died.

A pathologist also found that Mr Coney was shot once “from behind, whilst doubled forward.”

Mr Coney’s brother, Jim told the Irish News his family wants the truth to be established.

“The family feel there has been a great injustice over the last 40 years. We have waited 40 years to tell the right story.

“He was an innocent man and had not been convicted of anything when he was shot. The original witness statements were rejected by the coroner but we now want them to be introduced.”

Mid-Ulster Sinn Fein Councillor Linda Dillon, a friend of the Coney family is backing their call for a fresh inquest.

“They want history to be right for future generations to know that Hugh was murdered and shot in the back while trying to escape,” she said.

Mr Coney was one of 33 prisoners who dug a 134ft long tunnel under the perimeter fence in a bid to escape.