The inquest into the death of Kathleen Thompson, due to start tomorrow in Derry, has been postponed until the New Year.


At an emergency preliminary hearing this morning in Belfast Coroner McGurgan was advised that a number of expert reports, including an independent pathology report and a ballistic report, were not ready in time for the inquest to begin tomorrow. The Ministry of Defence had also failed to provide a full explanation of why certain army logs were missing.

Coroner McGurgan stated that the inquest would be pushed back until March 2018 “at the latest.”

Counsel for the Coroner, Mr McAlinden acknowledged the shortcomings of past investigations (in conflict related cases) and stated that they were taking this course of action in delaying the inquest to “ensure a full, comprehensive and knowledgeable investigation.”

Fiona Doherty QC, representing the Thompson family, told the court

“The family have mentally and emotionally prepared for the inquest. They now have to start again. It is with extreme sadness and disappointment that they find out the inquest will not now go ahead as planned, literally with a day to spare.”

A further preliminary hearing will take place in the 13th December.


Kathleen was shot dead in her back garden at her home in Rathlin Gardens in Creggan, Derry, on 6th November 1971 by a soldier from Royal Green Jacket Regiment of the British Army. She was a 47 year old mother of six. The family received £84.07 by way of compensation for her death. They rejected the payment.

The soldier, known only as “Soldier D”, was due to give evidence from behind a screen next Tuesday (31st October.)

The Royal Military Police (RMP) carried out a cursory examination of Kathleen’s death in 1971, with the soldier who fired that fatal shot only being questioned for 15 minutes. In 2003 the High Court stated that the RUC had delegated their investigative duties to the RMP unlawfully.

The family is legally represented by Feargal Shiels from Madden & Finucane Solicitors and Fiona Doherty QC and supported by the Pat Finucane Centre.