Today is the 49th anniversary of the murder of 13-year-old Martha Campbell, schoolgirl.
Later today, the family of Martha is releasing critical new evidence in a report. You can read some of that new evidence here.
The new evidence proves that the British Army poured fire into the exact area when Martha was shot and killed. Nevertheless, in those 49 years, no organisation ever claimed her murder and the British Army denied it was nearby.
The report, The Murder of Martha Campbell, Schoolgirl, has been compiled by the charity, Paper Trail (Legacy Archive Research) and will feature previously unpublished evidence which the charity discovered in secret British Army files written in the hours after the murder. Poignantly, Martha’s brother, Tony, has also written about his memories of his sister.
Among critical new evidence is proof that not only was a major British military operation about to begin in the vicinity, but a named British Army unit poured fire into the very area and at the same time as it recorded the death of the schoolgirl. For 49 years, the British Army has denied the presence of any British military units in the area.
Following a targeted request for information and a Public Interest Test, Paper Trail secured new evidence from Watchkeeper and Radio Logs of the British Army’s King’s Regiment. Among new information was a report:
“c/s 22 [Call Sign 22] fired 23 x 7.62mm at gunman waste ground WHITE HOUSE and corner DIVISMORE PARK/DIVISMORE ROAD. No hits claimed 2030 – 2050”.
Around 830pm (2030 hours) on 14th May 1972 and in this very area, Martha and her friend were walking along Springhill Crescent, West Belfast, when she was shot in the face and mortally wounded. The waste ground separated Divismore and Springhill Crescent at the time.
No organisation admitted to killing Martha and her murder remains one of a small number of child killings which lies unclaimed to this day.
We know that the fixed call signs used by the British Army means that Call Sign 22 was 5 Platoon, B Company, King’s Regiment, and a previous report by it in the files recorded at 2030 (830pm):
“1 civ [civilian] killed in Springhill Cres [Crescent] reports c/s 22. Not by SF [Security Forces] Cas [casualty] is girl.”
The British Army did not record any other firing in the area at the time except by its soldiers.
A report by the Historic Enquiries Team (HET) concluded that there was no investigation into her murder and stated:
“From the papers supplied by the [British] Army to the HET review process … there is no evidence to place the Army in Moyard Park at the time that Martha was shot.”
This new evidence and other files published in the report completely overturns this lie and proves that 5 Platoon, B Company, 1 Kings was indeed in Moyard and poured fire at an alleged target in the same area and at the same time as Martha Campbell was murdered.
You can download the new report free later today on this website and associated social media sites.
Martha’s brother, Tony Campbell said:
“This new evidence must be considered by the Attorney General to grant a new inquest into Martha’s murder. The evidence has been kept from the family for 49 years and some family members have passed away without knowing the truth. How many more years must pass before we get truth and justice. The Campbell family deserve closure so that we can finally let Martha Rest in Peace.”
Ciarán MacAirt of Paper Trail said:
“Martha was murdered 49 years ago and her killers have yet to acknowledge that they shot her dead – never mind face justice in court. The family’s new report features previously unpublished evidence which may tell us why this is the case – the British Army files prove that British soldiers were the only gunmen shooting in the area. This new evidence was either missed by historic investigators or buried by them. It is a testimony to her family’s love for Martha that they fought against this state cover-up for nearly half a century.”
Walk for Martha
The launch of the report by the charity Paper Trail is a number of events to commemorate the life of Martha Campbell.
The staff of Ó Muirigh Solicitors are having a sponsored Walk for Martha on Saturday and have already raise8% of a £5K target to pay for Expert Witness Reports to support the family’s application for a new inquest.
The new evidence will also feature in the legal application.