Army Sentry Killed (1972)

Army Sentry Killed

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) — A gunman firing from an alley shot and killed a British army sentry on duty at Belfast’s Crumlin Road Prison during the night the army said today.

An army spokesman said that the sniper shot Pvt. Stephen Keating, 18, in the head late Friday night, then apparently escaped in a waiting car before other troops could return the fire.

Keating was the eighth British soldier killed in Northern Ireland this year and the 258th person to die in three years of escalating violence in the province. Four part-time militiamen of the Ulster Defense Force have also been killed this year.

Earlier in the day a man escaped from the Crumlin Road Prison where a number of suspected members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) are being held. Security officials declined to identify the escapee.

The shooting followed a new declaration from Premier Brian Faulkner that his government would resist any attempt to unite the predominantly Protestant north with the mainly Roman Catholic Irish Republic.

“We are part of the United Kingdom, on full equality with other parts,” Faulkner said in a speech to the annual meeting of the Ulster Unionist Council, the governing body of the province’s ruling party. “Any attempt to cut off such a part without the consent of the people would be unconstitutional and we would resist it.”

In London, Labor opposition leader Harold Wilson urged that any initiative Prime Minister Edward Heath might take include gradual abolition of the policy of jailing suspected IRA members without trial.

Wilson told Labor party club einner that no agreement for resolving the crisis would be possible “unless the package includes measures for a progressive ending of internment, defined in terms of imprisonment without trial or preferred charges.”

The Labor Party chief also reiterated his earlier proposal that the British government […] for security in the province, removing British troops from Faulkner’s control.

Source: Army Sentry Killed, Bucks County Courier Times, Levittown, Pennsylvania, 4 March 1972, pp. 1, 16.

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