§ Mr. Stratton Mills
asked the Minister of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the death of Mrs. Elizabeth McGregor, shot in the Ardoyne, Belfast, on 12th January, 1973.
§ Mr. Blaker
At about 11 a.m. on 12th January, soldiers manning an observation post overlooking the Ardoyne area saw four men at the corner of Berwick Road and Highbury Gardens. One of the men52W dropped to one knee and brought a rifle to the firing position, aiming towards the area in which an Army patrol was known to be operating. The soldiers warned the patrol by radio and opened fire on the gunman.
Unfortunately, at that moment, Mrs. McGregor came round the corner into the soldiers' line of fire and she was hit by two bullets. The patrol ran to the scene and rendered first aid until Mrs. McGregor was rushed to hospital, but she died there later.
A Press statement was issued shortly afterwards, providing details of the incident and expressing the Army's deepest regret. I can only add my own deep sympathy. This tragic accident would, of course, never have occurred had not terrorists been attempting to attack the patrol.