The Springhill/Westrock Inquest resumed today, the 6th of November 2023, at Laganside Courthouse, with testimony from the first of 15 scheduled civilian witnesses.
At 10:30 pm on the 9th of July 1972, Mr Michael Butler and his family were in the family car returning from a holiday.
They noticed that the usually bustling neighbourhood of Westrock/Springhill was eerily quiet, but didn’t hear or see anything to indicate why.
Michael was approached by two young men who asked him for help. They said that a young girl needed to be taken to hospital but ambulances wouldn’t come to the area. Michael agreed to transport the girl. His wife and children went to their house while Michael drove a few minutes to where 13 year old Margaret Gargan was being tended to by local residents. When he arrived at least one person got into the back seat and the young girl was also lifted into the back seat.
Michael drove as quickly as possible to the Royal Victoria Hospital, where Margaret was taken into the A&E.
At no point did Michael hear or see any gunfire and it wasn’t until the next day that he learned what happened.
Joseph Aiken, representative for the Ministry of Defence, cross-examined Mr Butler on some small details but did not gain any additional insight.
The rest of the civilian witnesses will be heard over the next three weeks, with military witnesses set to testify in early 2024.