Bloody Sunday soldier denies 'murdering' four

A former British paratrooper tonight faced allegations of murdering up to four people on Bloody Sunday.

A former British paratrooper tonight faced allegations of murdering up to four people on Bloody Sunday.

Soldier F, who spent two days giving evidence at the Saville Inquiry, admitted killing at least four people during a civil rights march in the Bogside area of Derry in 1972 but denies murdering them.

In a dramatic development, Soldier F admitted killing Barney McGuigan, shot dead as he waved a white handkerchief while going to the aid of a dying man, Patrick Doherty.

The former lance corporal today also conceded he killed Mr Doherty on the south side of Rossville Flats but said he was shooting at a man armed with a pistol.

He has also admitted killing teenager Michael Kelly at the rubble barricade in Rossville Street and another man he claimed was hurling a nail bomb in Glenfada Park North.

The fourth man was identified as possibly William McKinney, shot as he ran for shelter in the Glenfada Park area.

The Inquiry, currently sitting at Central Hall in Westminster, is investigating the events of January 30, 1972 when 13 civilians were shot dead during a civil rights march.

Counsel for the Inquiry Christopher Clarke, summarising the evidence, said: “What is alleged in relation to each of those four people is that you shot them without justification, that is to say that you murdered them: Do you follow?”

Mr Clarke said the facts seemed to indicate that he killed Mr McKinney but contrary to his evidence given to the Royal Military Police, he was facing away from him at the time.

Soldier F said he did not murder them: “As I refer to my statements, the people I shot are the petrol bombers or a person who had a weapon.”

Earlier, under questioning by Mike Mansfield QC, Soldier F admitted for the first time that he had killed 41-year-old Mr McGuigan.

When asked by the barrister if he would admit shooting Mr McGuigan to his wife and six children who were sitting in the public gallery, Soldier F said “Yes”.

At this point the Inquiry was halted for a period while Mr McGuigan’s sobbing widow was led from the public gallery.

Eillis McDermott QC representing the family of Patrick Doherty, who was shot while attempting to crawl to safety, accused Soldier F of using a well known hunting shot to take him out.

Ms McDermott said Soldier F had used a “Texas heart shot”, firing in through the buttock and through the heart.

“That is the way you shot Mr Doherty was it not, as if you were hunting him down like an animal?”

Soldier F, who said he used to hunt, said he had never heard of this shot.

“I know on a hunting shot you ‘shoot to kill’ the animals and to cause less pain and less damage to put the animal out of its misery. You do not just shoot anywhere,” he replied.

Soldier F denied he had murdered Mr Doherty, insisting he fired at a man with a pistol south of the Rossville Flats.

“I am very, very sorry for what happened on that day, but I am here to help the Inquiry and to assist to tell the truth.”

Asked by Ms McDermott what he was sorry about, Soldier F replied: “The circumstances that happened on that day, there was obviously innocent people killed, there was also gunmen and bombers killed.”

Forensic tests have already linked Soldier F’s rifle to the killing of 17-year-old Michael Kelly at the rubble barricade in Rossville Street.

Questioned by Seamus Treacy QC, the lawyer representing the Kelly family, Soldier F admitting killing the teenager but denied he had murdered him.

Mr Treacy said: “The overwhelming evidence in this case is that Michael Kelly was completely and utterly innocent at the time he was shot.

“Have you not got the guts now, F, to tell all of the people who are here the circumstances in which you killed Michael Kelly?” he asked.

Soldier F replied: “The circumstances which I was involved in that day was, I felt my life and the life of my fellow soldiers were under threat.”

Earlier, Soldier F insisted he was only doing his job on Bloody Sunday.

Insisting he had operated within the British army’s yellow card rules of engagement, he claimed he shot a nailbomber at the barricade, another nailbomber in Glenfada Park and a man firing a pistol at the Rossville Flats.

Asked by Mr Treacy if he felt it was a job well done, Soldier F replied: “I think it was well done to the fact that no soldiers were killed or injured on that day.”

Soldier F has told the Inquiry he cannot recall any of the circumstances in which he fired a total of 13 shots on Bloody Sunday.

The former lance corporal, who left the Army in 1988 after 22 years, told the Inquiry that he ended up with the rank of sergeant major.

Mr Treacy said: “Whatever you did on Bloody Sunday, it clearly did not count against you in terms of your career within the (British) army. Is that right?”

He replied: “That is correct.”

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