THE family of 15-year-old boy who was shot dead in the grounds of the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) in 1975 have launched an appeal for witnesses.
The brothers and sisters of Patrick Crawford, who was shot dead while walking through the RVH site on August 10th 1975, have called on anyone working or attending the hospital who may have witnessed the murder to come forward.
Patrick Crawford was killed by a single high velocity shot to the chest which entered his body to the front of his chest with a downward trajectory and an exit wound to his back.
The bullet was never located at the scene. However, the next of kin believe that Patrick was shot by a member of the British army who were at the time stationed on buildings in the Royal Victoria Hospital.
At the time of the shooting, Patrick was returning from a protest at the Dunville Park, and was walking with two women through the grounds of the hospital from the Grosvenor Road entrance to the Falls Road exit.
The two female witnesses both gave evidence at the original inquest in December 1979 confirming that Patrick was in fear of walking through the grounds of the Royal on his own and had asked if he could walk with them.
Patrick Crawford was an innocent civilian. He wasn’t a member of a paramilitary organisation nor was he armed at the time of his death.
On the 19th December 1979, the original inquest jury returned an open verdict.
The two witnesses, Mrs Kathleen Faloon and Mrs Annie Miskimmon, who were with Patrick have since died. Mrs Faloon died on the 15th October 2006 while Mrs Miskimmon died on the 30th September 2019 at the age of 89.
However, Patrick Crawford’s death is currently the subject of a new legacy inquest granted on the 24th September 2015 after the family made their own direct efforts and lodged submissions to the Attorney General for Northern Ireland John Larkin.
The fresh inquest had been prioritised by the Coroner in 2019 because of Mrs Miskimmon’s age and had been listed for hearing in 2020, but the court timetable was interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lawyers for the Crawford siblings captured Mrs Miskimmon’s witness testimony on video in April 2019, six-months before her death. Patrick and his siblings had also tragically lost their mother Martha Crawford who was shot dead during crossfire between the British army and the IRA in the Andersontown area of Belfast on the 30th March 1972, three years before Patrick was killed in a shooting incident. Martha Crawford was a 39-year-old married mother of 10 children at the time of her death.
The Crawford family are now appealing to the public to ask anyone who has any information whatsoever in relation to their brother Patrick’s killing or who may have witnessed the killing while at or in the Royal Victoria Hospital to contact the Coroner’s Service to provide the evidence directly to the Coroner in line with the witness protocol issued by the Presiding Coroner on the 6th October 2020.
The Legacy Inquest Unit is based at Laganside House, 23-27 Oxford Street, Belfast, and telephone number is 0300-200-7812.