BRITISH records relating to the day a young boy was killed by a rubber bullet in Belfast more than 40 years ago have been cut out, a Belfast coroner’s court has heard.
An inquest opened on Monday into the 1972 death of Francis Rowntree, who was hit by a rubber bullet fired by a member of the British military.
It has been disputed since his death whether the bullet was a direct hit or a ricochet.
The 11-year-old was hit by the bullet on April 20, 1972 while walking through the Divis Flats complex near Belfast’s Falls Road.
He suffered extensive skull fractures and lacerations of the brain and died in hospital two days later.
UTV reports that barrister for the Rowntree family Fiona Doherty QC told Belfast Coroner’s Court: “These are from crucial periods of time.
“The pages go down right through the time period when the incident involving Francis Rowntree took place. I have never seen anything like it.”
The inquest into Francis Rowntree’s death was ordered by Attorney General John Larkin.
Martin Wolfe QC is representing the Ministry of Defence and told the court he would attempt to obtain an explanation as to why the documents had been cut out.
Judge Brian Sherrard said: “It may not be in a position to fill in the blanks but I would ask the MoD to provide somebody who could provide a statement concerning this.”
The case continues in Belfast.