BLOODY SUNDAY PARA ADMITS KILLING FOUR
A former British soldier yesterday admitted he was responsible
for killing four civil rights demonstrators in Derry on Bloody
Relatives of those killed have described yesterday's evidence
as a major breakthrough in their quest for the truth.
It was a day of drama at Central Hall, London, as the former
soldier, identified only as Soldier F, admitted that he shot
teenager Michael Kelly, father-of-six Bernard McGuigan,
newspaperman William McKinney and father-of-six, Patrick
A lance corporal in the anti-tank platoon of the Parachute
Regiment, Soldier F rose to the rank of Sergeant Major in the
British Army in the years following the killings.
Throughout his evidence, Soldier F had maintained that he
could remember little of the events of Bloody Sunday. But on
the second day of his evidence yesterday, Soldier F was
questioned at length by representatives of the other three
victims. And as his evidence concluded he dramatically
admitted killing four of the Bloody Sunday dead.
Counsel to the inquiry Christopher Clarke QC told the soldier:
"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."
The witness said that while he understood what Mr Clarke was
saying, he did not accept the conclusion of murder. He has
maintained a claim made in 1972 that he shot two nailbombers
and a gunman.
Bernard McGuigan was shot in the back of the head as he waved
a white handkerchief while attempting to assist the dying
Michael Mansfield QC, for the family of Bernard McGuigan,
showed the former soldier photographs of the terrible head
injuries inflicted by his bullet.
As Soldier F admitted firing the fatal shot, Mr McGuigan's
wife had to be helped from the chamber where she had been
watching proceedings with her children.
Eilis McDermott QC, barrister for Patrick Doherty's family,
yesterday accused soldier F of shooting Mr Doherty as if he
were "hunting him down like an animal".
Michael Kelly was 17 years old when he was shot dead near a
rubble barricade on Rossville Street on January 30, 1972. On
Wednesday, his family finally got to see the British soldier
responsible for his death.
John Kelly said he found the testimony of former paratrooper,
identified as Soldier F, emotional.
"It is hard to put into words - I could not take my eyes off
him," Mr Kelly said.
A bullet taken from his body was matched to the gun used by
Soldier F that day. The bullet is one of only two found in the
bodies of the Bloody Sunday victims.
Mr Kelly said 15 members of his extended family had travelled
to London to see for the first time the man who had shot his
"We were all looking out for each other. It was emotional,"
The former soldier later denied being involved in any
conspiracy to "cover up" the shootings in and from Glenfada
Park because he thought they would be difficult to explain.
Mr Clarke asked him: "Is the reason why a true account fitting
the known facts has never been given by the anti-tank platoon,
that a true account would reveal that innocent civilians had
been murdered or unlawfully killed and unlawfully wounded."
Soldier F replied: "No".
FORMER IRA MEMBER TO GIVE EVIDENCE
* Earlier this week, a former member of the IRA has told the
Inquiry that he is prepared to make a statement regarding what
the organisation was doing on Blody Sunday. The former
volunteer told the Derry Journal earlier this week that he
will tell the inquiry that he, along with other volunteers,
were under orders "not to engage the British Army but to
observe the situation in case they tried to move in while the
march was going on".
The man said that his decision to come forward was for the
sake of the families. He said he had been "thinking about this
for months and listening to what people like Martin McGuinness
was saying about republicans coming forward" and had taken on
board Lord Saville's comments that the failure of former
volunteers to give evidence suggested that the IRA had
something to hide.
"People want the truth about Bloody Sunday to come out and I
feel that I have to come forward and tell what I know or else
the Paras will get away with it for the second time," he