Ex-general to be sued over NI death

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Published: Monday 27th April 2015 by The News Editor

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A former senior Army officer is to be sued over the death of a Catholic father of five in Northern Ireland more than 40 years ago.

Eugene “Paddy” Heenan, 47, was killed in February 1973 when loyalist paramilitaries threw a grenade at the minibus carrying him and 14 others to a building site in east Belfast.

Mr Heenan’s widow Mary is now taking legal action against the Ministry of Defence and General Frank Kitson, claiming her husband died because of negligence and misfeasance in office.

It marks the first time a retired soldier has been personally sued over alleged actions during the Troubles.

Gen Kitson, who is now in his late 80s, rose to become Commander-in-Chief UK Land Forces from 1982 to 1985. He was in charge of military operations in Northern Ireland during the early 1970s.

According to the Irish Times, he has been named as a co-defendant in the legal action on grounds that he and others used agents knowing, or should have known, that they would take part in criminal actions.

Ex-soldier Albert “Ginger” Baker received a life sentence for killing Mr Heenan and three others but later claimed to have links to British intelligence.

Claiming that Gen Kitson is “liable personally for negligence and misfeasance in public office”, Mrs Heenan’s solicitors KRW Law have argued that in creating his policy, he was “reckless as to whether state agents would be involved in murder”.

Although no inquest was held into Mr Heenan’s death, it has been claimed he could have survived if first aid had been administered quickly.

Mr Heenan, from Andersonstown, west Belfast, had been working as a foreman at a Catholic school.

Published: Monday 27th April 2015 by The News Editor

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