Family welcome new Inquest Decision

24 September 2009

The family of Derry teenager Daniel Hegarty who was shot dead by the British Army during Operation Motorman has welcomed the news that a new inquest is to be opened into the controversial 1972 shooting. Speaking this morning Margaret Brady, sister of the victim, spoke of her 'surprise and delight' at the news that an inquest is to be held.

"This gives us the opportunity to set the record straight and have Daniel’s name cleared once and for all. He was an innocent 15 year boy who was murdered by the British Army and the RUC and the DPP helped cover up his murder."

15 year old Daniel was shot dead at close range by soldiers entering the Creggan Estate on July 31 1972 during the major British Army operation to take control of Free Derry.

The Pat Finucane Centre revealed that an RUC map of the scene of the shooting wrongly implied that Daniel was shot at almost 70 feet range when he was in fact shot at a range of between 6 and 10 feet. This map had been submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions and influenced the decision not to prosecute.

The Historical Enquiries Team reported on the case and concluded ;

- that Daniel and his two cousins posed no threat whatsoever when soldiers opened fire on them;

- that they were not armed and that Daniel was shot at close range;

- that the soldiers did not give a warning as they had claimed;

- that the RUC investigation was ‘hopelessly inadequate and dreadful’;

that the RUC map of the scene incorrectly placed Daniel some 70 feet away when he was in fact shot at less than 10 ft range;

- the HET submitted a new file to the PPS who decided, once again, not to prosecute;

- the HET called on the British Government to apologise for the killing of Daniel Hegarty. 

Speaking on behalf of the Pat Finucane Centre Paul O’Connor said,

"This decision may have far-reaching consequences for many families who never saw the truth emerge at inquest. The soldier who shot Daniel may be called to testify and counsel for the family would have an opportunity to question his actions. The family solicitor Des Doherty is to be congratulated for his foresight in taking the case forward."

Note to editors:
News that a new inquest has been authorised came in a letter from the Office of the Attorney General in London.