Farmer shot dead was ‘an innocent young man doing a day’s work’

PA

A farmer shot dead by a soldier was an innocent young man doing his day’s work, his brother and sister said.

Paddy McElhone’s siblings said they still missed him after a 46-year campaign to clear his name of untruthful smears vindicated his reputation.

Suggestions he was named on a security force intelligence list targeting the IRA were unfounded, a coroner said on Thursday, and his death was unjustified.

His sister, Mary McCourt, said: “Thank God this day we have finally got justice at last after this length of time.

“We always knew that Paddy was innocent but everyone else knows it now.

“He was an innocent young man doing his day’s work, working out in the hay field.

“We are glad we have finally got justice after 46 years.”

Inquest into death of Paddy McElhone
Inquest into death of Paddy McElhone

The relatives clutched photos of their loved one outside the Omagh courthouse in Co Tyrone where presiding coroner Siobhan Keegan delivered her findings following an inquest.

His older brother Michael recalled the days after he was born, returning home as an infant in his mother’s arms.

He later developed a head of thick ginger hair and grew up a “lovely fella”.

Michael McElhone said: “He was an honest, wise, decent, good lad, very useful around the house, it was a sad day.”

He paused then added: “I still miss him but that is life.”

Mr McElhone’s family said the dead man’s parents had gone to their graves “broken-hearted”.

They added: “As a family we feel that today Judge Keegan at this inquest has at long last exonerated Paddy in full.

“The truth of Paddy’s killing by a British soldier has been heard.

Inquest into death of Paddy McElhone
Inquest into death of Paddy McElhone

“He was shot from behind through the heart.

“Judge Keegan in her ruling described the killing as cold-blooded and unjustified.

“As a family we can grieve Paddy and respect his memory as an innocent young man.”

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