The Bloody Sunday Inquiry today heard descriptions of a man pleading for soldiers to stop shooting so he could rescue his mortally wounded son only to be shot himself.
Two witnesses Celine Dunleavy and Marie Lynch told day 133 of the inquiry’s public hearings how Alexander Nash called out for help on the rubble barricade across Derry’s Rossville Street where his son William, 19, had been gunned down.
William Nash, 19, was one of three men who were shot dead on the barricade and one of 13 who died on January 30 1972 when Paratroopers moved into the city’s Bogside after a civil rights march. Alexander Nash survived the shooting but died in recent years.
Earlier another witness, Brian Rainey, described hearing shots ring out from the troops moving into the Bogside and simultaneously seeing ‘‘three or four young lads fall at the Rubble Barricade’’ simultaneously.
He stated: ‘‘I could not believe my eyes. I had never seen anyone shot before.
‘‘I remember the way they fell was most unusual, they just dropped together in a lifeless way, not forwards or backwards, just sideways in a heap on top of one another.’’
From the witness box at the Guildhall, Derry, he said some stoning had been taking place from the barricade but could not say for certain whether those who fell had been involved.
Mrs Dunleavy told the hearing she looked out the window of her flat overlooking Rossville Street and seeing two bodies on the barricade as well as Mr Nash, crouching and shouting: ‘‘For God’s sake stop firing, see what you have done to my son.’’
She added: ‘‘He raised a hand, a shot rang out and his hand fell down.’’
Mrs Lynch, whose flat also overlooked the scene, said she saw Mr Nash below waving his arms and shouting about his son.
She added: ‘‘Someone in the flat with me shouted to the man, What do you want?’ It sounds silly now but at the time we didn’t know what was happening.
‘‘Just after that I saw the man jerk backwards and down out of view behind the wall.’’
Mrs Dunleavy also described what could have been three of the victims William McKinney and Jim Wray, who died, and Joe Mahon who survived apparently walking across Glenfada Park North, just off Rossville Street, and then seeing them lying on the ground.
As they moved across the courtyard she observed: ‘‘It looked like they were simply trying to get away from the trouble or making their way home.’’
But when she watched them lying on the ground, she saw one ‘‘rock involuntarily’’ and ‘‘it was then I realised to my horror, that they had been shot’’, she said.
Mrs Lynch told how her father-in-law, a life-long soldier, was ‘‘in tears’’ as the scene unfolded on the street beneath their home.
‘‘He had been in the British Army all his life and he couldn’t believe what was happening and that the Army was doing this.’’
Mr Rainey who was a PE and careers teacher at the time, also spoke of his anger following the shootings and said: ‘‘I was so angry that if I had a gun I think I would have used it.
‘‘That may be totally irrational, but I was terribly angry. I had not seen any reason for the people to be shot.
‘‘There was stone-throwing but I did not hear gunfire before the soldiers started shooting or see any nailbombs.’’