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Bradley sees coffin pic of boy shot by British army

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Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley   Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley Aaron Chown/PA Wire

PA

Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Families bereaved by security forces in the North met Karen Bradley over her controversial comments on state killings - and handed her a photo of an 11-year-old boy who was shot dead by the British army lying in his coffin.

The northern Ireland secretary approached a number of victims' groups in the wake of her "distressing" gaffe.

During the meeting Ms Bradley was given pictures of Stephen McConomy, who was shot and killed by a plastic bullet near his home in Derry in 1982.

Speechless

The photographs included one of him in his school uniform two weeks before he was killed, another of him on a life-support machine and one of him in his coffin.

Representatives of campaign group Relatives for Justice said she was left "speechless" at the images.

Ms Bradley said on Wednesday that killings by the police and military during The Troubles were not crimes but the actions of people "fulfilling their duties in a dignified and appropriate way".

They sparked fury among some victims and political parties. A delegation of relatives travelled to Stormont House in Belfast yesterday to discuss the furore.

Speaking after the meeting, Frances Meehan, whose brother was shot dead by the British army in 1980, called for Ms Bradley to resign.

"I wanted to look her in the eye to tell her how I felt," she said. "Her position is untenable and she needs to resign."

Relatives of those killed in shootings involving the army in Ballymurphy in west Belfast in 1971 refused to meet Ms Bradley.

John Teggart, whose father Danny was shot 14 times, said: "We will not meet her and have one request - for her to resign."

Ms Bradley said she would not be leaving but was "profoundly sorry".

"A slip of the tongue has caused enormous distress," she said.

"I do not believe what I said - that is not my view."

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said her apology was "genuine and heartfelt".

Britain has said Prime Minister Theresa May retains full confidence in her.

Ms Bradley's comments come a week before decisions on whether 17 soldiers involved in the Bloody Sunday shootings in Derry in 1972 will face prosecution.


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