Ipswich woman whose father was allegedly killed by IRA chief supports soliders charged with terrorist's murder
The decision to charge two retired soldiers with the murder of an IRA chief in 1972 has been described as "diabolical" by the Ipswich daughter of one of his alleged victims.
Anna-Marie Bankier, 47, was just 23 months old when her father Cpl Bob Bankier, 25, was shot dead in Belfast on May 21, 1971, becoming one of the first British soldiers to be killed in The Troubles.
The terrorists responsible were said to have been led by Official IRA commander Joe McCann who was shot dead by British troops in Belfast in April 1972.
Miss Bankier, of St Helen’s Street, said she was shocked to hear last Friday that two former paratroopers who were part of the patrol which killed McCann were now being prosecuted for his murder.
She said: “It seems to me like they are being hounded just for doing their jobs. It is diabolical and disgusting after all this time. They are old guys now. What purpose is it serving?”
Miss Bankier who has an older brother Robert, 50, was only a few days short of her second birthday when her father was killed, leaving her mother Catherine widowed with two young children
Her mother who now has Alzheimer’s and is living in sheltered accommodation was told in the 1970s that McCann and two other men were responsible for her husband’s death.
Miss Bankier added: “We knew that McCann was killed a year after my father died and the two others were killed later.
“I believe in karma and that what goes around comes around. If he killed my dad, then he got what he deserved.
“I feel sorry for the families of these two soldiers who have been charged. I hope they get off.
“It seems to be a bit of a witch hunt against soldiers at the moment.”
The decision to prosecute the two former paratroopers known only as Soldier A, who aged 67, and Soldier C, aged 65, was taken by the Public Prosecution Service of Northern Ireland.
Miss Bankier said: “I have no memories at all of my father, so when I was growing up I had to rely on what my mother told me about him. She always said that he was a good person and was brilliant with kids who always flocked around him.
“He met my mother who came from Ipswich when she was working in the NAAFI on his base in West Germany. They got married after a few months.
Miss Bankier, her brother and mother stayed in Ipswich for just over a year after her father’s death before moving to Hull.
She said: “We visited Ipswich every summer and then we moved back permanently when I was 11.”