A former paratrooper claimed today he lied about shooting dead one of the 13 unarmed civil rights protesters on Bloody Sunday.
The soldier, referred to only as INQ 2003, had told a television reporter that he murdered Jack Duddy in Derry on January 30, 1972.
But giving evidence to the Bloody Sunday inquiry in central London, he agreed that the account was “completely false“.
The former private, who was born and raised in Northern Ireland and on leave at the time of the shootings, said he fabricated the story as he “did not take the situation very seriously because no inquiry had been announced“.
He also claimed his alcohol problem made it difficult for him to distinguish fact from fiction and that the journalists took his comments “out of context” after plying him with drink at a hotel.
In the interview with reporter Paul Mahon, which was used as the basis for a discussion on Ulster Television, the inquiry was told the soldier talked of wanting to “take out” someone on the day of Bloody Sunday and that it was not about self-preservation.
He told Mr Mahon that the person he said was Jack Duddy was running away from him at the time at the Rossville Flats and that he was not a threat.
Mr Mahon asked him: “I have got to say to you, soldier, that you murdered this person, did you not?”
The soldier replied: “It is hard for me to come to say that but if I am talking honestly, yes.”
Counsel for the inquiry, Christopher Clarke QC, said: “Even allowing for your alcoholic problems, how did you come to give such a detailed account, including an admission of murder?”
The witness said he could not remember but his story could have come from hearing about the deaths from his colleagues who were there and reading about the events in the years that followed.
The hearing was told that even when the reporter raised concerns with him about the veracity of his claims, he repeatedly insisted he was there.
“You were invited on several occasions to accept that you were not there and stoutly said that you were,” stated Mr Clarke.
“I should not have done that, sir,” he replied.
“Is the position that you had gone too far by then to come back?” asked the QC.
“Yes, sir,” he said.