Bloody Sunday and the Report of the Widgery Tribunal - Widgery Report and New Material; Points 230-275
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231. The following eyewitness accounts appear to attest to how Michael Kelly died.
- ... I was at the barricade at St. Columb's Court. I attended to a man who was hit by a rubber bullet when the Army opened up. I took him around the corner for shelter from the bullets. The man then said not to worry about him but to see to a man who was shot and bleeding to death just around the corner. We went over and picked him up. He had no weapons whatsoever on him or near him. His name is Michael Kelly. As we were running for cover with him the Army fired after us. We then took him into a house and attended to his wounds... We stayed there until the shooting had stopped. We then waited for an ambulance which was prevented from coming in, by which time young Kelly was in a bad state. He might have lived if we had got him to hospital.
- We ran in the direction of Glenfada Park. As we reached here, two young men fell behind the barricade. There had been at least a dozen shots fired by the Paras as we made for cover. A few seconds later, a youth was shot at the entrance to Glenfada Park. We rushed out and carried him towards the flats for shelter. We came under fire from the direction of Derry Walls, as we sought shelter. In my opinion, the youth was dead and I said an Act of Contrition in his ear. As I looked up, the late Gerry McKinney was also kneeling beside me and a Priest (Fr. Bradley) who was giving the Last Rites to the youth... (M.J.J.)
- I saw people running into Glenfada Park and was told that the army was coming into Rossville Street. Almost immediately, I heard the sound of gunfire. Within seconds of the gunfire commencing, I observed the body of a man lying in the entrance to Glenfada Park immediately opposite the main entrance to Rossville Street flats. I know now that this man was Michael Kelly, aged 17. I made my way to him and knelt down beside him. I noticed immediately that he had been shot. He was carrying no weapon of any kind. I .....then asked four people to carry him into a house to get medical attention. They raised him on their shoulders and headed for the far corner of Glenfada Park. Throughout all this time the shooting by the British soldiers continued.
232. The civilian eyewitness evidence is absolutely clear that nobody at the Rossville Street barricade was using firearms or bombs of any kind. Lord Widgery found that Kelly was not firing at the soldiers from the barricade and that he was not throwing a bomb at the time he was shot. Soldier F however testified that he shot a man at the barricade who was about to throw a nail bomb which was fizzing or smoking. Lord Widgery accepted that the bullet which killed Kelly was fired by soldier F. In other words, he found that soldier F shot and killed Kelly, an unarmed civilian. Rather than drawing the obvious conclusion, Lord Widgery opted to imply that Kelly was shot in the company of others using nail bombs at the barricade, thus attempting to infer a degree of justification for soldier F's action. Lord Widgery yet again offered no explanation for soldier F's action in shooting Kelly or in making a claim which was directly contradicted by eyewitnesses and for which no corroboration could be found.
233. The scant treatment of Kelly's death is itself revealing. Lord Widgery failed to make any reference to the eyewitness statements refuting the notion that guns or nail bombs were being used by civilians on the barricade. Rather, he chose to support the contention of soldier F that hostile fire prompted return fire. Yet according to Prof. Walsh, soldier F made no mention of the shooting of a nail bomber on the barricade either in his original statement or in a supplementary one. This compounds Lord Widgery's decision not to indict in some manner the actions of soldier F. Once again, the new material has revealed that Lord Widgery's finding on the context in which Kelly was shot dead was based on a demonstrably unreliable and implicated witness, one who was known as such to the Tribunal but not made known to Counsel for the next of kin in the course of the adversarial proceedings. Lord Widgery's finding therefore is unreliable and misleading.
Para 82. Age 17. He was shot whilst crawling southwards along the pavement on the west side of No 1 Block of Rossville Flats at a point between the barricade and the entrance to the Flats. The bullet entered his buttock so that it is clear that he was shot from behind by a soldier in the area of Kells Walk. Lead particles were detected on the back of the left hand and the quantity of particles on the back of his jacket was significantly above normal, but this may have been due to the fact that the bullet had been damaged. Dr Martin thought the lead test inconclusive on this account. Although McElhinney may have been hit by any of the rounds fired from Kells Walk in the direction of the barricade- eg by Soldiers L and M, who are to be seen in Mr Morris's photograph EP 2/8- it seems probable that the firer was Sergeant K. This senior NCO was a qualified marksman whose rifle was fitted with a telescopic sight and who fired only one round in the course of the afternoon. He described two men crawling from the barricade in the direction of the door of the flats and said that the rear man was carrying a rifle. He fired one aimed shot but could not say whether it hit. Sergeant K obviously acted with responsibility and restraint. Though I hesitate to make a positive finding against a deceased man, I was much impressed by Sergeant K's evidence.
234. The following eyewitness statements, drawn from Mullan and the statements given to the Government in 1972, record the following about the death of Kevin McElhinny.
- When the soldiers entered Rossville Street.... One of these soldiers ran towards a wall at the maisonettes opposite the High Flats - he aimed the rifle at a group of young boys who were standing on the Free Derry Corner side of a barricade of rubble which is directly outside the main doors of the High Flats.... I saw one of these boys fall just as a soldier fired from his position at the maisonettes ... Immediately I heard further shots ... directed at the other boys at the barricade of rubble. We retreated immediately to the doors of the flats. Kevin McElhinney was running alongside me. We were crouched and running at the same time - making for the main door of the flats. As I entered, I heard Kevin - who was now just behind me - shout "I'm hit.... I'm hit....". I dived on in the door and went up the stairs thinking that Kevin was behind me. I realised that no one was behind me so I ran back and saw Kevin lying dead just inside the door. Kevin was beside me for the few moments before he was shot. At no time had [he] a nail bomb, petrol bomb, gun or any other lethal weapon.
- ... I saw a youth running towards the entrance to the high Rossville flats. He was shot down from behind. Lying on the ground, he grabbed one of the canopy entrance supports. He dragged himself approx. one foot when two shots rang out in rapid succession. The youth appeared to loose his grip on the canopy support and his body went completely limp.... People who were in the entrance to the flats dragged him in...(M.J.J.)
- ... I then took refuge in a house in Glenfada Park... Looking out of the window... I saw a soldier in a kneeling position. He was approached by another soldier who seemed to be in a position of authority and his attention was drawn to a young boy who was crawling along the ground. The soldier who had been kneeling rose to his feet, took aim at the boy and pulled the trigger.... The boy stopped moving and someone from the flats pulled him into the doorway. The soldier who fired the shot followed the instructions given him by the other soldier and fired at targets as he was told....
235. The civilian eyewitness evidence contradicts directly Sergeant's K's account of McElhinney carrying a rifle when shot. The statement of eyewitness no. 50 is quite significant. Having regard to the eyewitness's proximity to McElhinney during the latter's last moments, the eyewitness directly contradicts in an unambiguous way Sergeant K's testimony that McElhinney was armed. There is little room for any uncertainty that the same incident is being related; at the moment of the shooting, eyewitness no. 50 states that he was indeed in front of McElhinney which matches Sergeant K's description. The account of eyewitness no. 50 corroborates the accounts given by two civilian eyewitnesses who testified before Lord Widgery. The clear burden of evidence, then as now, was that Kevin McElhinney was unarmed and that he was seeking refuge from the firing when he was shot dead.
236. Since Sergeant K was a qualified marksman whose rifle was fitted with a telescopic sight, it is highly unlikely that he could have hit his target and failed to see that the target was not carrying a rifle. Moreover, if Sergeant K was so experienced a marksman (using a telescopic sight), logically it is difficult to see how he could fail to have known whether he had hit his target. Nor does the shooting from behind of a crawling figure - irrespective of whether or not he was armed - resonate of "responsibility and restraint". In this case, these words lose all true meaning when set against the unequivocal civilian eyewitness evidence that Kevin McElhinney was not armed when shot dead from behind.
237. Prof. Walsh's report reveals that, taken together, the statements by Sergeant K, soldier L and soldier M made variously to the Military Police, the Treasury Solicitors and the Inquiry are so replete with contradictions and discrepancies that they cannot be reconciled to each other, let alone the facts as decided by Lord Widgery. Lord Widgery's cavalier equivocation as between the guilt of McElhinney and the character of Sergeant K was unacceptable then and is clearly unsustainable now.
238. It is difficult not to draw attention to the description provided by the eyewitnesses of the chilling deliberation which preceded Kevin McElhinney's death. This was not death by accident. It was not death in the heat of battle. It was death through calculated selection by a supervisor to a marksman of a target who was clearly not presenting a threat but striving like his other fellow citizens to find shelter from a fusillade of Army fire. Indeed, so evidently calculated was the fatal shot directed at McElhinney that it might indicate the basis on which targets were selected. The evidence regarding the fatalities indicates that the injunction "move and you're dead", heard so often, supports a suspicion that this may have been a contributory factor in the soldiers' decisions of whom to shoot. (If this were true, it meant those who sought to render assistance to the dying and the wounded were particularly susceptible to becoming a target.)
James Joseph Wray, Gerald McKinney, Gerald Donaghy and William McKinney
Para 83. These four men were all shot somewhere near the south-west corner of the more northerly of the two courtyards of the flats at Glenfada Park. Their respective ages were 22, 35, 17 and 26. The two McKinneys were not related. Three other men wounded in the same area were Quinn, O'Donnell and Friel. I deal with the cases of these four deceased together because I find the evidence too confused and too contradictory to make separate consideration possible. One important respect in which the shooting in Glenfada Park differs from that at the Rossville Street barricade and in the forecourt of the Rossville Flats is that there is no photographic evidence.
239. In the scale of inadequate and unsatisfactory treatment represented by the Widgery Report, Lord Widgery's account of the four deaths in and around Glenfada Park was particularly abysmal. Seven people in all were hit by Army fire from just four soldiers within a tiny geographical area and under the eyes of numerous eyewitnesses, including the three survivors. Lord Widgery's findings on this carnage, inflicted with such apparent ease, by members of 1 Para on innocent civilians, merited just three paragraphs; equal to the number he devoted to defending the Army's spurious claim that one of the deceased, Gerard Donaghy, was carrying nail bombs.
240. Lord Widgery failed to locate precisely (or even roughly) where they died, how they died and who shot them (the one exception was based on forensic evidence). Despite the plethora of evidence, Lord Widgery took refuge in a confusion that was only evident to him and which it was surely his remit to end. Despite the Tribunal's knowledge that the implicated soldiers provided contradictory and highly dubious accounts which could not be matched with those of civilian (i.e. non-implicated) eyewitnesses, Lord Widgery wilfully failed to adjudicate on the credibility of the contending versions and claimed without justification that contradictions occluded a definite conclusion. Lord Widgery chose only to hear the testimony of the soldiers who actually fired rather than seeking the views of non-implicated soldiers who were present but did not fire. In short, Lord Widgery again failed inexplicably to reasonably and fairly consider all of the relevant evidence available to him.
Para 84. Four soldiers, all from the Anti-Tank Platoon, fired in this area, namely E, F, G and H. Initially the Platoon deployed in the Kells Walk area and was involved in the firing at the Rossville Street barricade. It will be remembered that at this time some 30 or 40 people were in the region of the barricade, of whom some were engaging the soldiers whilst others were taking cover behind the nearby gable end of the flats in Glenfada Park. (Mr Mailey's photographs EP 23/10, 11 and 12.) Corporal E described how he saw civilians firing from the barricade and then noticed some people move towards the courtyard of Glenfada Park. He said that on his own initiative he accordingly led a small group of soldiers into the courtyard from the north-east corner to cut these people off. The recollection of the Platoon Commander (Lieutenant 119) was somewhat different; he said that he sent Soldiers E and F into the courtyard of Glenfada Park to cut off a particular gunman who had been firing from the barricade. The result in any event was that Soldiers E and F advanced into the courtyard and Soldiers G and H followed shortly afterwards. In the next few minutes there was a very confused scene in which according to civilian evidence some of the people who had been sheltering near the gable end of Glenfada Park sought to escape by running through the courtyard in the direction of Abbey Park and the soldiers fired upon them killing the four men named at the head of this paragraph. Soldiers E, F and G gave an account of having been attacked by the civilians in this group and having fired in reply. Soldier H gave an account of his activities with which I deal later. From the forensic evidence about a bullet recovered from the body it is known that Soldier G shot Donaghy. It is clear that the other three were shot by Soldiers E, F, G or H. Although several witnesses spoke of having seen the bodies there was a conflict of evidence as to whether they fell in the courtyard of Glenfada Park or between Glenfada Park and Abbey Park. The incident ended when the 20 to 30 civilians remaining in the courtyard were arrested on the orders of the Platoon Commander, who came into Glenfada Park just as the shooting finished.
Para 85. In the face of such confused and conflicting testimony it is difficult to reach firm conclusions but it seems to me more probable that the civilians in Glenfada Park were running away than that they were seeking a battle with the soldiers in such a confined space. It may well be that some of them had been attacking the soldiers from the barricade, a possibility somewhat strengthened by the forensic evidence. The paraffin tests on the hand swabs and clothing of Gerald McKinney and William McKinney were negative. Dr. Martin did not regard the result of the tests on Donaghy as positive but Professor Simpson did. The two experts agreed that the results of the tests on Wray were consistent with his having used a firearm. However, the balance of probability suggests that at the time when these four men were shot the group of civilians was not acting aggressively and that the shots were fired without justification. I am fortified in this view by the account given by Soldier H, who spoke of seeing a rifleman firing from a window of a flat on the south side of the Glenfada Park courtyard. Soldier H said that he fired an aimed shot at the man, who withdrew but returned a few moments later, whereupon Soldier H fired again. This process was repeated until Soldier H had fired 19 shots, with a break for a change of magazine. It is highly improbable that this cycle of events should repeat itself 19 times; and indeed it did not. I accepted evidence subsequently given, supported by photographs, which showed that no shot at all had been fired through the window in question. So 19 of the 22 shots fired by Soldier H were wholly unaccounted for.
241. The following is a selection of eyewitness accounts of the events in Glenfada Park as published in Eyewitness Bloody Sunday.
- I got only as far as Glenfada Park when I heard people shouting and squealing 'There's the army. There's the Saracens'. I stopped and looked to my left and saw a group of people running through an arch in front of me. A young man in the group wearing a blue suit had an injury and lacerations to the side of his head... I ran in the door [of No 7] ... I kept the door slightly open and looked through the slip-way between the houses in front of me. I saw a young man falling and as he fell he hit his head on the side walk... His head was raised up looking towards me and I saw a cut above his left eye. He tried to raise himself up but failed and then I saw blood on his wrist.... I ran out towards the man.... As I was running I saw one of the men make an effort to go towards the injured man. I then heard three bullets hitting the wall between myself and the injured man.... I ran back to No. 7... I saw an elderly man lying face up on the ground. He was not moving.... I then saw a young man run from the right towards the man waving a white handkerchief. He stopped between the corner and the man and shouted "Don't shoot, don't shoot". The next I saw he was knocked off his feet onto the ground... [Later] I saw the first para of the second group fire four shots from the hip position and fanned the rifle as he did so.... I moved to the centre of the window and still observed the man I had tried to rescue. I saw him lift his head off the ground... I then saw the back of the man's coat jump twice about 4 or 5 inches in the air and I said 'Good God, that man's just been shot twice in the back at close range'. I saw some smoke rise from where he had been shot....(John P.)
- Some soldiers crossed Glenfada car park and started shooting at the men who were at the corner of Glenfada Park opposite my house (8 Abbey Park).... a soldier.. ran forward towards several men at the corner of the house and stopped 15-20 yds from them - the men ran except one man who put his hands above his head and faced the soldier. The soldier put the gun to his shoulder and shot at this man who fell on his face and turned over. Another man ran to him from the next house - the soldier was still standing there and as the man bent over the injured man, the soldier shot him too and he fell. The soldier then ran away back through Glenfada Park...(John Carr)
- I went back home [Abbey Park] and I had just arrived there when the shooting started... The firing ceased for a few minutes and I went to the window and saw the legs of a man lying outside. There were five or six people across from him and a youth lying in Glenfada Park. The shooting started again. The boys across the street had their hands above their heads. A man stepped over a low wall to reach the man who was lying down. He had his hands above his head. At this point I saw the man lying in Glenfada Park raise himself from the ground. I saw a soldier run up to him and shoot him again. He fell in the road again. This same soldier then fired at the man who had stepped over the [low] wall and this man fell. He crawled and the soldier shot him again. A girl from the First Aid post ran to him and a shot was fired at her... People brought the last man who was shot into my home. He was not dead.... the ambulance came to take the man. This man is now dead. I now know that he was William McKinney. I can state with absolute certainty that Mr. McKinney had no weapon of any kind.(Bridget O'Reilly).
- I then made my way to Glenfada Park. Suddenly, fire sounded to my right. Shots then came from the direction of the walled part of the city, which are patrolled solely by the security forces. I saw two men running towards where I was taking cover. One of them I knew personally. His name is Gerard McKinney. He was running across an open courtyard in Glenfada Park. I saw him stop and fling his arms in the air. He shouted "No, No", and was shot by a soldier who appeared at the corner. McKinney fell to the ground on his back and lay still. The other who fell was moving, tried to pull himself towards us, but seemed to lose consciousness. Several attempts were made to get to the fallen men, but each time anyone exposed himself he was fired on...(Charles M, a former RUC officer)
242. These statements are supported by other statements made to the Government in 1972.
- I then ran down to my own gate [Abbey Park] and some men were with me and I brought them into the house with me. I went to my front window and I saw a youth fall at Glenfada Park - his head was on the kerb and his body on the street. He moved slightly - and just as I was going to go out to him more shots rang out, the youth's body jerked and lay still. A soldier jumped over his body and then stood at the Housing Trust Office - a youth in blue denims ran with his hands above his head towards the steps - the soldier took aim and shot - the youth fell, tried to rise on his elbow and another lad with hands above his head ran towards the wounded youth - he fell shot beside this youth. He also moved and the soldier shot twice at him again.... men were able to lift the three bodies and bring one to my house and two next door. These three youths died.
- More shots rang out and my friend ran across to Glenfada Park and I stood behind a car. Then, I saw a man running out holding his arm. Another three shots rang out and this man fell. A soldier appeared and ran forward and shot this man at point blank range in the lung.... I and a few others went to this man's aid.... we heard that there was another body at the back of the block of flats. We walked round with our hands on our heads and then three shots rang out, two hitting the wall beside us. The bloke in front of us was hit in the head.... We went back to the man who had been shot three times and we took him to a nearby house and I stayed with him until he died about half an hour later.
- I saw two men [from Abbey Park], one young man, the other about middle aged, and one soldier. The two men were walking towards the soldier who had a gun trained on them. One was dressed in brown clothes, brown suit, brown socks and brown shoes. This man was the older of the two men. The younger man was dressed in a white shirt and dark coat and dark trousers. He had thick black hair. The two men were walking, with their hands on the crown of their heads, from Abbey Park out towards Glenfada Park... just outside Mrs O'Reilly's window the soldier fired his rifle. He had his rifle against his chest and the two men fell.
- Near Columcille Court, the shooting started in earnest... A youth (aged about 16) was shot in the side and Gerry (McKinney) knelt to try and assist the young fellow. Along with a couple of other boys we tried to lift him out of danger but the retreating crowd knocked him from our grasp.... Gunfire was heavy when I suggested that we try to cross the Court in the direction of Butcher Street... Gerry decided after a few minutes to take a chance and accompanied by a youth, whom I don't know, he led us out across the Court... At a stage when I can only assume he was visible from the other side of the entrance Gerry turned, shouted "No, No" and put his hands in the air. A shot rang out which caught Gerry in the chest and he fell forward. A second shot rang out and the youth who was leading the way along with him fell to the ground... The Army shot them in cold blood....
243. The civilian eyewitness accounts are clear, internally consistent and mutually corroborating. Even without the elucidation of cross examination, information available from military sources and the support of forensic and ballistics evidence, it is quite possible to draw some conclusions as to what happened in Glenfada Park and Abbey Park. There was little or no justification for Lord Widgery's confusion and his inability to locate where each of the victims was located as between Glenfada and Abbey Parks. John P. - a quartermaster with the Irish Army - describes the killings of James Joseph Wray, and either Gerard McKinney or Gerard Donaghy.
244. Like other eyewitnesses, John P. also described the efforts to assist the wounded being thwarted and, particularly disturbingly, of the coup de grace administered to James Wray who was injured but clearly alive when he was again shot in the back at close range by a soldier. This eyewitness account is remarkably accurate on points of detail - for example, the medical evidence shows that Wray did indeed have a laceration above the left eye and an abrasion in the region of one of his wrists. Eyewitness no. 26 confirmed the account that Wray was shot while lying injured on the ground. Dr. McClean, on the treatment of the killing of James Wray in the Report, says the following:
- No reference was made to the very clear forensic evidence produced at post mortem. No reference was made to the fact that the forensic evidence was consistent with several eye-witness accounts which stated that Jim Wray was shot [dead] in the back as he lay on the ground. Several eye-witnesses stated that they called to Jim Wray as he lay on the ground. He replied that he was all right but that he couldn't move his legs. This was consistent with the lower entry and exit wounds, caused by a bullet travelling across the lumbar region superficially.
245. Eyewitness no. 26 also describes the shootings of Gerard McKinney and Gerard Donaghy, noting that Donaghy was running with his hands above his head when he was shot. The other person, Gerard McKinney, was shot immediately afterwards while he too had his arms raised. In his book, The Road to Bloody Sunday, Dr. McClean states: 'It was very clear from the trajectory line of this bullet that this man must have had both arms raised, otherwise the fatal bullet must have penetrated one or both arms. No reference to this very clear evidence was made anywhere in the Widgery Report'. According to eyewitnesses, the last words of Gerard McKinney were: "Don't Shoot! Don't Shoot!' or 'No! No!'.
246. Eyewitness Bridget O'Reilly gives a very moving account in Eyewitness Bloody Sunday of the death of William McKinney. Her account is very clear on the point that this man was shot while selflessly and courageousely going to the assistance of another. Indeed, when shot, other eyewitnesses support her account that the injured McKinney still persisted with his efforts at assistance. As Bridget O'Reilly states in her account: 'This same soldier then fired at the man who had stepped over the [low] wall and this man fell. He crawled and the soldier shot him again. A girl from the First Aid post ran to him and a shot was fired at her'. This account does not necessarily conflict with the medical evidence because McKinney had two entry wounds: one on the left wrist and one on the right side of the back. Lord Widgery's delicately chosen words that the shooting in Glenfada Park 'bordered on the reckless' amounted to a gross distortion of the accounts offered by civilian eyewitnesses.
247. Based on the foregoing, the following assertions can reasonably be made:
- that paratroopers of the anti-tank unit entered Glenfada Park and that four of them opened fire on a panic stricken group of civilians who were attempting to flee both the shooting in Rossville Street and the members of 1 Para who had appeared in Glenfada.248. Particularly within the context of eyewitness accounts of the killings and injuries in Glenfada Park, it is important to note that, throughout his entire Report, Lord Widgery did not refer to any detailed forensic examination of the clothing of the deceased with reference to bullet entry wounds. The records of the Inquests, which took place on 21 August 1973, do not indicate that any such examinations took place. In the case of James Wray, for example, it was noted that forensic swabs were taken from his hands but there was no indication that his clothes were subject to detailed forensic examination by reference to the entry wounds on his back. Such examinations, set within the context of the bullet entry wounds of the deceased, could have provided crucial assistance to establishing the veracity or otherwise of eyewitness accounts that some of the victims were shot dead at close range or point blank range.
249. When set, for example, against the emphasis given to dubious forensic evidence regarding the scarf in Bernard McGuigan's case, the absence of any reference in the Widgery Report to proper forensic testing on clothing relative to bullet entry wounds reinforces the assertion that the Tribunal, on the one hand, selectively invoked dubious forensic evidence in defence of the Army's claims and, on the other hand, wilfully ignored potentially valuable sources of evidentiary material with the effect of grossly and perversely distorting the case regarding the deceased.
250. Lord Widgery's findings on the actions of 1 Para in Glenfada Park were also woefully inadequate and misleading. Not only is there no finding produced on the three wounded men, but the treatment of the circumstances surrounding the four dead is banal in the extreme. For example, the post-mortem reports show clearly that James Wray was shot twice in the back and that William McKinney was shot once in the back. In this as in other instances, what Lord Widgery chose to ignore was more revealing than what he chose to write about in his finding.
251. The accounts provided by the civilian eyewitnesses have been considerably enhanced by the emergence of the Para AA statement. There is an eerie correlation between the civilian eyewitness accounts here and that provided in the Para AA document which described in vivid and compelling detail the anti-tank platoon's action in Glenfada Park thus:
- Para DD, Para CC, Para EE and myself then leapt the wall, turned right and ran down Kells Walk into Glenfada Park, a small triangular car park within the complex of flats. A group of 40 civilians were there running in an effort to get away. Para CC fired from the hip at a range of 20 yards. The bullet passed through one man and into another and they both fell, one dead and one wounded. He then moved forward and fired again, killing the wounded man. They lay sprawled together half on the pavement and half in the gutter. Para DD shot another man at the entrance of the Park who also fell on the pavement. A fourth man was killed by either Para EE or Para FF. I must point out that this whole incident in Glenfada Park occurred in fleeting seconds and I can no longer recall the order of fire or who fell first but I do remember that when we first appeared darkened faces, sweat and aggression, brandishing rifles, the crowd stopped immediately in their tracks, turned to face us and raised their hands. This is the way they were standing when they were shot.
252. The Para AA document bears a striking and detailed similarity to the versions offered by civilian eyewitnesses from the perspective of a soldier. In and of itself, it is a compelling and horrifying account of how four of the fatalities of Bloody Sunday met their end. It is a highly significant corroboration of the events as related by the civilian eyewitnesses from the soldier's perspective.
253. As a non-implicated military eyewitness, Para AA might have been prepared to give a more candid account of the actions of his colleagues had he been called to testify. However, Para AA alleges that his attempt at candour was frustrated by the Tribunal staff:
- "Disguised and escorted I was led hunched up through a lot of waiting pressmen and reporters and shown into some offices within the building. Here there were a number of soldiers from my Platoon, all disguised as I was and we spent some time pouring over airxxx [aerial?] photographs with the S.I.B.[Special Investigations Branch] trying to establish which shots had been fired by whom and from where - what a farce, we were all grinning at each other and drawing lines haphazardly all over the place with the result that the authorities finished up with a series of photographs of sophisticated looking spider webs which bore no relation to fact. I was then interviewed in an office by two Crown lawyers on Lord Widgery's team. I rattled off everything I had seen and had done. The only thing I omitted were names and the manner in which people had been shot, apart from that I told the truth which I wanted to convey. Then to my utter surprise one of these doddering gentlemen said 'dear me Private 027, you make it sound as though shots were being fired at the crowd, we can't have that can we?' And then proceeded to tear up my statement. He left the room and returned ten minutes later with another statement which bore no relation to fact and was [sic] told with a smile that this is the statement I would use when going on the stand.
254. Para AA's allegation that the staff of the Widgery Tribunal colluded to present distorted and inaccurate statements by soldiers to the Inquiry is particularly damning for the Inquiry as a whole. If substantiated, it would thoroughly discredit not just Lord Widgery's account of the killings in Glenfada but the whole exercise of the Inquiry itself and the Report which issued from it.
255. Para AA's allegation may help explain the pattern of alterations in the statements of the soldiers revealed by Prof. Walsh's Report. Prof. Walsh's analysis of the original statements by soldiers E, F, G, and H reveals that none of their versions matched and that major discrepancies existed both between each other and between different statements made by the same soldier. None of their versions of what happened actually matched. Soldier E claimed he entered on his own initiative and was bombarded with nail bombs; he subsequently revised this to one or two nail bombs. Soldier F claimed he was ordered to go there by E (Lieutenant 119 also claimed to have given the order). He originally claimed that 30 to 40 rioters left the barricade and went to Glenfada Park but later dropped this. The lines of fire marked on the map did not match his evidence (not surprisingly, if Para AA is to be believed). In his original statement, soldier G claimed to have shot a gunman and pursued two others who had picked up the weapons but later dropped this. None of the discrepancies and alterations were revealed to Counsel for the next of kin. Soldier H's evidence was so bizarre that even Lord Widgery discounted it. As Prof. Dash pointed out, "this soldier's multiple falsehoods deserved more emphasis than the delicate mention Lord Widgery made of them."
256. In the light of the eyewitness statements, the account by Para AA and the report of Prof. Walsh, the conclusion that Soldiers E, F, G and H were lying proves inescapable.
257. Prof. Walsh also refers to the inadequacy of Lord Widgery's finding that the shots were fired without justification on "the balance of probability". As he puts it, "the nature of evidence offered was such that any impartial judicial body should have been satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the soldiers' firing in Glenfada/Abbey Park was unjustifiable."
Para 86. A special feature of Gerald Donaghy's case has some relevance to his activities in the course of the afternoon although it does not directly bear on the circumstances in which he was shot.
Para 87. After Donaghy fell he was taken into the house of Mr. Raymond Rogan at 10 Abbey Park. He had been shot in the abdomen. He was wearing a blue denim blouse and trousers with pockets of the kind that open to the front rather than to the side. The evidence was that some at least of his pockets were examined for evidence of his identity and that his body was examined by Dr. Kevin Swords, who normally worked in a hospital in Lincoln. Dr. Swords' opinion was that Donaghy was alive but should go to hospital immediately. Mr. Rogan volunteered to drive him there in his car. Mr. Leo Young went with him to help. The car was stopped at a military check-point in Barrack Street, where Mr. Rogan and Mr. Young were made to get out. The car was then driven by a soldier to the Regimental Aid Post of 1st Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment, where Donaghy was examined by the Medical Officer (Soldier 138) who pronounced him dead. The Medical Officer made a more detailed examination shortly afterwards but on neither occasion did he notice anything unusual in Donaghy's pockets. After another short interval, and whilst Donaghy's body still lay on the back seat of Mr. Rogan's car, it was noticed that he had a nail bomb in one of his trouser pockets (as photographed in RUC photographs EP 5A/26 and 27). An Ammunition Technical Officer (Bomb Disposal Officer, Soldier 127) was sent for and found four nail bombs in Donaghy's pockets.
Para 88. There are two possible explanations of this evidence. First, that the bombs had been in Donaghy's pockets throughout and had passed unnoticed by the Royal Anglians' Medical Officer, Dr. Swords, and others who had examined the body; secondly that the bombs had been deliberately planted on the body by some unknown person after the Medical Officer's examination. These possibilities were exhaustively examined in evidence because, although the matter is a relatively unimportant detail of the events of the afternoon, it is no doubt of great concern to Donaghy's family. I think that on a balance of probabilities the bombs were in Donaghy's pockets throughout. His jacket and trousers were not removed but were merely opened as he lay on his back in the car. It seems likely that these relatively bulky objects would have been noticed when Donaghy's body was examined; but it is conceivable that they were not and the alternative explanation of a plant is mere speculation. No evidence was offered as to where the bombs might have come from, who might have placed them or why Donaghy should have been singled out for this treatment.
258. The following accounts appear in Eyewitness Bloody Sunday regarding the death of Gerard Donaghy and the allegation that he was carrying nail bombs.
- A young man whose name I later learnt was Gerard Donaghy was brought into my sitting room. He was unconscious and badly wounded in the lower left abdomen. A man who said he was a doctor was present. The doctor told me that he would have a chance of living if he was got to hospital soon. I volunteered to take him in my car and I set off for Altanagelvin Hospital with the wounded man in the back seat. Mr. Leo Young accompanied me... I drove... into Barrack Street where I was stopped at an army barricade by the Royal Anglian Regiment. I was immediately pulled out at gunpoint, thrown against a fence. I attempted to protest as I had a wounded man but was told to shut up or I would be shot. After half an hour I was made to sit down and after another half hour we were taken to an army compound on the Craigavon Bridge. My car had been driven away but I didn't see this being done. I had asked an officer to contact the RUC but he told me he was contacting nobody and also a soldier told me that if I made a move I was dead as one stiff wasn't enough for them... At the army compound, I was searched... I was then told by [Detective Sergeant] Mactaggert that a bomb had been found on the wounded man in my car... There was then an explosion and Mactaggert indicated, but didn't actually say, that it was of the bomb found on the wounded man being detonated...(Raymond Rogan)
- I took one man to the house of Mr Rogan in 10 Abbey Park. He was unconscious and his intestines seemed to be protruding out of his stomach. I tried to find his identification from anything in the two top pockets of his blue denim jacket but found nothing. Mr. Rogan got in his car in order to take the man to hospital. I went in the car with Mr Rogan driving... In Barrack Street, we were stopped at an army barricade and pulled out of the car. I said to a soldier 'What about that dying young fellow?' and he said, 'Let the bastard die'. I said, 'You are just an animal'. He then put me up against some railings, pointed his gun at me and told me that if I blinked he would blow my head off. There was another private car there with the wounded Joe Friel in it. I didn't actually see Friel but the men who got out of the car told me that it was him. Two soldiers drove these cars away and I never saw the wounded men again. We were taken to an army post in Foyle Road near Craigavon Bridge and kept for an hour and a half... I was then taken to Victoria Barracks and then to Ballykelly and not released until the following Monday. It was only then that I heard my brother John had been killed. At no time did I see any civilians carrying a weapon and I never heard the explosion of nail bombs or petrol bombs...(Hugh Leo Young)
259. Donaghy was wearing tight denim jeans and jacket. A man who helped carry him into Mr. Rogan's house testified that so tight were the jeans, 'a thin chocolate bar' in any of the pockets would have been noticed. Dr. Swords testified that he could not possibly have failed to observe nail bombs in Donaghy's pockets when brought to the house. He had thoroughly examined Donaghy's body and practically every part of his clothing before recommending that he be taken to hospital immediately. Young testified that he checked the two top pockets of Donaghy's denim jacket and found nothing. Soldier 138, a British Army Captain and Medical Officer, carried out two examinations of Donaghy's body. The purpose of the first examination was to determine if Donaghy was alive. The purpose of the second, after finding Donaghy dead, was to explore the nature of the wounds. This latter examination was more detailed. The Army Medical Officer opened Donaghy's jeans and examined most of his body, including adjusting his jeans and jacket. He testified that he did not see any nail bombs in Donaghy's possession during either examination.
260. Yet an RUC officer and Army witnesses testified that shortly afterwards, they found four nail bombs in Donaghy's clothing - one in each of his jeans pockets and one in each of his jacket pockets. Having regard to the evidence before Lord Widgery, his finding that on a balance of probabilities the bombs were in Donaghy's pockets throughout is so extraordinary as to border on the farcical. Nail bombs, which are bulky (weighing about half a pound and measuring roughly 4.5 by 2 inches) could not conceivably have escaped the notice of civilians, medical experts and military personnel. If they were present, they would have been removed in any case by those civilians who had brought him to shelter. Nail bombs were not noticed by either Soldier 138 or any of the civilians who were with Donaghy during the last minutes of his life - one of whom, Young, actually stated that he searched Donaghy's jacket pockets.
261. The logic of the evidence presented to Lord Widgery is that the nail bombs were not in Donaghy's pockets until they were placed there while his body was in the custody of the authorities. Lord Widgery claimed that "no evidence was offered as to where the bombs might have come from, who might have placed them or why Donaghy should have been singled out for this treatment." However, the testimonies of the Royal Anglians' Medical Officer and the civilian eyewitnesses all agree fully on the point that Donaghy was not carrying nail bombs prior to his death; and the evidence clearly shows that the RUC and Army had the opportunity to plant them. Evidence was therefore offered as to where the bombs might have come from and who might have placed them there. The motive for planting nail bombs on Donaghy is clear since even Lord Widgery found that the shooting was without justification. Lord Widgery's attempt to besmirch Gerard Donaghy emerges as transparent as it was tawdry.
262. Finally, mention must be made yet again of Lord Widgery's marked failure to have at least admonished the Army for forcing out the driver of the car carrying the seriously injured Donaghy. The resultant delay, for an unspecified amount of time, in the administration of urgent medical assistance might possibly have been a significant contributory factor to his death.
B. Were the Soldiers Justified in Firing?
Para 89. Troops on duty in Northern Ireland have standing instructions for opening fire. These instructions are set out upon the Yellow Card which every soldier is required to carry. Soldiers operating collectively-a term which is not itself defined-are not to open fire without an order from the Commander on the spot. Soldiers acting individually are generally required to give warning before opening fire and are subject to other general rules which provide inter alia:
"2. Never use more force than the minimum necessary to enable you to carry out your duties.
3. Always first try to handle the situation by other means than opening fire. If you have to fire:
(a) Fire only aimed shots.
(b) Do not fire more rounds than are absolutely necessary to achieve your aim".
Para 90. Other stringent restrictions apply to soldiers who have given warning of intention to fire. But the rule of principal significance to the events of 30 January is that which contemplates a situation in which it is not practicable to give a warning. It provides:
"You may fire without warning
Para 94. Soldiers will react to the situations in which they find themselves in different ways according to their temperament and to the prevailing circumstances. The more intensive the shooting or stone-throwing which is going on the more ready will they be to interpret the Yellow Card as permitting them to open fire. The individual soldier's reaction may also be affected by the general understanding of these problems which prevails in his unit. In the Parachute Regiment, at any rate in the 1st Battalion, the soldiers are trained to take what may be described as a hard line upon these questions. The events of 30 January and the attitude of individual soldiers whilst giving evidence suggest that when engaging an identified gunman or bomb-thrower they shoot to kill and continue to fire until the target disappears or falls. When under attack and returning fire they show no particular concern for the safety of others in the vicinity of the target. They are aware that civilians who do not wish to be associated with violence tend to make themselves scarce at the first alarm and they know that it is the deliberate policy of gunmen to use civilians as cover. Further, when hostile firing is taking place the soldiers of 1 Para will fire on a person who appears to be using a firearm against them without always waiting until they can positively identify the weapon. A more restrictive interpretation of the terms of the Yellow Card by 1 Para might have saved some of the casualties on 30 January, but with correspondingly increased risk to the soldiers themselves.
263. Lord Widgery opens these paragraphs with the very pertinent question: Were the soldiers justified in firing? The evidence is compelling that they certainly were not justified. Indeed, the claim can credibly be made that the more horrific and deliberate the killing and the more pressing the need for concealment of evidentiary material of benefit to Counsel for the next of kin, the greater was the propensity on Lord Widgery's part to have found that the victim was armed or in close proximity to someone who had fired.
264. Lord Widgery produced findings on just two of the thirteen wounded (fourteen including John Johnson who died shortly afterwards). He claimed that every soldier was looking for and firing at a gunman. He found that John Young and William Nash, shot at the Rossville Street barricade (and now understood to have been shot from the vicinity of the Walls) were armed, that Kevin McElhinney, shot from behind while seeking cover by Sergeant K, was armed with a rifle and that James Wray, shot twice in the back at close range while lying injured on the ground had been armed at some point during the day. Lord Widgery found that Bernard McGuigan, Michael McDaid and Michael Kelly were shot dead when standing close to gunmen who had fired. There was no credible evidence to support any of these findings.
265. On the basis of Lord Widgery's view that the soldiers were looking for and firing at gunmen and that many of those shot and killed by them were implicated as gunmen or close to gunmen when they were shot, Lord Widgery was in effect putting forward the proposition indirectly and by implication that a mini arsenal comprising sub-machine guns, rifles, revolvers, pistols, petrol bombs, acid bombs and nail bombs had been used against the British Army, that the use of all of these weapons had singularly failed to hit or injure a single soldier or civilian, that this arsenal simply disappeared through some ingenious recovery operation implemented by civilians, and that these gunmen (save for those fatalities Lord Widgery was content to consider gunmen, contrary to all the evidence) and those removing the weapons escaped death, injury or arrest. Not alone therefore is the answer to Lord Widgery's question self-evidently clear but the scenario he proposed as a credible one to explain and justify the actions of the British Army can only be considered incredible and unsustainable.
266. McMahon legitimately asks why Lord Widgery "constitutes the soldiers as the interpreters of their own orders." He writes, "it is no more the soldier's right to interpret the rules on the Yellow Card than it is the citizen's right to interpret for himself the law of the land." Furthermore, "not only were there to be different interpretations in different units but different interpretations by different soldiers....The introduction of this degree of subjectivity on the part of the unit and the soldier diminishes drastically the objective importance of the Yellow Card and runs counter to the general attitude taken by the law to rules and interpretations." McMahon demonstrates in a very compelling manner that Lord Widgery, despite his office, his experience, even his prior rulings, failed to give due consideration to whether the Yellow Card rules had been breached by the soldiers acting by an objective standard of reasonableness. Not only was this unusual in the common law but was "almost unheard of in the interpretation of non-discretionary rules in any jurisprudence."
267. This is but one of many salient points made by McMahon in the course of his legal commentary on the Widgery Report. He submits that Lord Widgery, in his consideration of the actions of the soldiers "was applying a quasi-moral [standard] where he was more concerned with the morality of the soldiers' acts than with either the Yellow Card or the law of the land. Legally speaking, the soldiers' moral problems were not at issue. The question was a legal one...." It should be borne in mind that McMahon based his argument on the facts as presented in the Widgery Report and, even on these terms, he found seriously wanting Lord Widgery's application of the law and standards.
268. On the basis of paragraph 94 of the Widgery Report, McMahon posed the very relevant question of whether it was reasonable to send in 1 Para, given their reputation and training. As he puts it, the ostensible object of the security forces was to avoid confrontation. Having achieved that end, they then courted the very confrontation they had avoided through launching an arrest operation by one of the most aggressive units in the British Army which not only breached the geographic confines set by the Operation Order but failed to disengage when, as was claimed, they came under fire. No order was given to disengage and the Paras penetrated deeper into built up areas. The only logical conclusion to be drawn is that 1 Para, in penetrating up Rossville Street, were acting according to a set of instructions other than that offered in the Operation Order.
Para 95. In the events which took place on 30 January the soldiers were entitled to regard themselves as acting individually and thus entitled to fire under the terms of Rule 13 without waiting for orders. Although it is true that Support Company operated as a Company with all its officers present, in the prevailing noise and confusion it was not practicable for officers or NCOs always to control the fire of individual soldiers. The soldiers' training certainly required them to act individually in such circumstances and no breach of discipline was thereby involved. I have already stated that in my view the initial firing by civilians in the courtyard of Rossville Flats was not heavy; but the immediate response of the soldiers produced a brisk and noisy engagement which must have had its effect on troops and civilians in Rossville Street. Civilian, as well as Army, evidence made it clear that there was a substantial number of civilians in the area who were armed with firearms. I would not be surprised if in the relevant half hour as many rounds were fired at the troops as were fired by them. The soldiers escaped injury by reason of their superior field-craft and training.
269. The new material clearly undermines any suggestion that the soldiers came under any sustained gunfire as claimed by Lord Widgery. Even without this evidence, Lord Widgery's claim that the soldiers escaped injury by reason of superior field-craft and training is difficult to sustain. Since no gunmen were discovered amongst the dead, the wounded or the arrested, did these civilian gunmen also possess superior field-craft and training in managing to avoid the aimed shots of the paratroopers? Were the paratroopers superior merely to the civilians who were killed and injured? This paragraph is revealed by the new material to be close to fiction; it purports to describe an event that never happened - an intense exchange of gunfire between 1 Para and gunmen operating amongst innocent civilians.
Para 96. When the shooting began every soldier was looking for a gunman and he was his own judge of whether he had identified one or not. I have the explanation on oath of every soldier who fired for every round for which he was required to account. Were they truthfully recounting the facts as they saw them? If so, did those facts justify the action taken?
270. The new material, particularly the report of Prof. Walsh, demonstrates the unreliability of the testimony of the soldiers. The civilian eyewitness evidence, combined with the Para AA document, undermines the claim that the soldiers were looking for gunmen. Taken together, the new material undermines Lord Widgery's assertion to have had a credible account of every round shot by the soldiers. By implication, therefore, it appears that not only were soldiers not telling the truth about how many rounds they fired and why, but they were evidently concealing the actions they had undertaken in expending the ammunition for which they did not account to the Tribunal.
Para 97. Those accustomed to listening to witnesses could not fail to be impressed by the demeanour of the soldiers of 1 Para. They gave their evidence with confidence and without hesitation or prevarication and withstood a rigorous cross-examination without contradicting themselves or each other. With one or two exceptions I accept that they were telling the truth as they remembered it. But did they take sufficient care before firing and was their conduct justified even if the circumstances were as they described them?
271. Since the Tribunal staff was aware of the inaccuracies, inconsistencies and alterations made by the soldiers to the statements they had variously made to the Military Police, Treasury Solicitors and the Inquiry and since the Tribunal staff was equally aware of the substance of the statements submitted by the NICRA/NCCL, it is very difficult to explain how Lord Widgery could have made this assertion. If he was unaware of the information available to the Tribunal staff, then he was ipso facto not qualified to make any judgements on the events he was charged with investigating. If he was aware of them, his confidence in the testimony of the men of 1 Para can only be considered a triumph of loyalty over the obvious.
Para 98. There were infringements of the rules of the Yellow Card. Lieutenant N fired three rounds over the heads of a threatening crowd and dispersed it. Corporal P did likewise. Soldier T, on the authority of Sergeant O, fired at a person whom he believed to be throwing acid bombs and Soldier V said he fired on a petrol bomber. Although these actions were not authorised by the Yellow Card they do not seem to point to a breakdown in discipline or to require censure. Indeed in three of the four cases it could be held that the person firing was, as the senior officer or NCO on the spot, the person entitled to give orders for such firing.
Para 99. Grounds put forward for identifying gunmen at windows were sometimes flimsy.......
Para 100. The identification of supposed nail bombers was equally nebulous- perhaps necessarily so. A nail bomb looks very much like half a brick......
Para 101. Even assuming a legitimate target, the number of rounds fired was sometimes excessive......
272. The inadequacy of these paragraphs can only be gauged against the background painted by the civilian eyewitnesses. To suggest that there were but a handful of infringements of the Yellow Card, when Lord Widgery had failed to establish that any of the dead or wounded possessed weapons much less were threatening to use them, was patently absurd. The use of nail bombs was never corroborated by any reliable source of evidence and none were recovered in the killing zones. Lord Widgery's precision as to how they are thrown is not only redundant but absurdly specific. No firearm was recovered from the dead, wounded or arrested.
Para 102. Nevertheless in the majority of cases the soldier gave an explanation which, if true, justified his action...... In the main I accept these accounts as a faithful reflection of the soldier's recollection of the incident; but there is no simple way of deciding whether his judgment was at fault or whether his decision was conscientiously made.....where soldiers are required to engage gunmen who are in close proximity to innocent civilians they are set an impossible task. Either they must go all out for the gunmen, in which case the innocent suffer; or they must put the safety of the innocent first, in which case many gunmen will escape and the risk to themselves will be increased. The only unit whose attitude to this problem I have examined is 1 Para. Other units may or may not be the same. In 1 Para the soldiers are trained to go for the gunmen and make their decisions quickly. In these circumstances it is not remarkable that mistakes were made and some innocent civilians hit.
273. Lord Widgery's failure to come to a conclusion on the core issue of whether or not 1 Para acted within the law, despite his professed faith in the reliability of the soldiers' statements, would appear to be an abrogation of the very remit under which he was appointed, as well as an astonishing act of omission from a man at the pinnacle of his profession and occupying the pre-eminent legal office of Lord Chief Justice.
Para 103. In reaching these conclusions I have not been unmindful of the numerous allegations of misconduct by individual soldiers which were made in the course of the evidence. I considered that allegations of brutality by the soldiers in the course of making arrests were outside my terms of reference. There is no doubt that people who resisted or tried to avoid arrest were apt to be roughly handled; but whether excessive force was used is something which I have not investigated.
274. The nature and extent of the allegations which Lord Widgery considered beyond his remit and therefore, apparently, beyond official accountability can be judged by the following eyewitness accounts, all of which were given to the Irish Government in 1972. A particularly striking feature of the behaviour of the soldiers was their obstruction of those attempting to render medical assistance and the specific instances of brutality shown toward uniformed members of the Order of Malta.
- As I arrived in William Street I saw the man who had been shot in the shoulder leaning with his hands against the wall. He half turned and was batoned on the head by a soldier...
- I looked back and saw two soldiers severely beat an elderly grey-haired man...
- They were squealing and shouting and they said "Move you Irish bastard". They marched [us] in single file with our hands on our heads through an opening. As we reached the opening they shot a fellow with a rubber bullet in the leg, from about two yards...
- A Knight of Malta (female) ran towards them [three shot men], more shots rang out and she had to dive on her mouth and nose...
- ... While one soldier was attacking a middle-aged man, a member of the Order of Malta attempted to intervene. The soldier turned and struck the first-aid man (dressed in the usual grey uniform) first with the butt of the rifle on both body and face and kicked him. The Order of Malta man collapsed and disappeared from view behind a wall...
- I entered the (High Flats) courtyard with the rest of the fleeing crowd, a Humber A.C. entered and knocked down a youth.... I then saw a paratrooper grab an old man who had been left behind by the crowd and flail him about the head with an SLR. I shouted to him and ordered him to stop. He threw the old man to one side, took up a firing position and prepared to fire. I stood stock still and then was hit by a rifle butt in the chest and knocked to one side and as I fell I heard a shot close to my left ear. I was stunned... At the corner of Francis Street, there were paratroopers who called us down. We were roughly searched and generally insulted when I said I was in the Order of Malta, the one in charge said "Those bastards!" We were then taken... to an armoured car where we got more rough treatment. Every time they heard of another death, they came to me and said: "that's another fucker you won't be able to help out".... We were driven to the R.N. Maintenance Base... taken out of the lorry... and made to run a gauntlet of Paras who beat me with their rifles... The RUC and Coldstream Guards inside the buildings must have known this was going on... Under the noses of the RUC and the other guards, they [the Paras] insulted, punched and generally harassed the prisoners.
- We were driven a short distance to the Strand Road Naval Yard. When the lorry stopped two soldiers at the back of it took us individually and threw us off the back of the lorry. I landed between two lines of soldiers and I had to run between them while they struck wildly at me with their batons and boots... Once inside we were made to stand for about three hours with hands on a wall...
- I saw one boy about 15 or 16 years fall, blood gushing down his leg... a bald headed civilian ran to pick him up but before he got touching him, a soldier came running at him and using the butt of a rifle, struck the man three or four times over the head....
- Knights of Malta were trying to bring out the bodies to an ambulance. When they got out into the open, the army fired....
- ... several attempts had already been made by people and myself, carrying and waving white handkerchiefs, to get to the fallen men, but these earlier attempts were repulsed by rifle fire...
- I said to a paratrooper there were seven innocent people shot down in cold blood, he cocked his rifle at me and threatened to shoot me and make me the eighth. When he cocked the rifle, he put my children into hysterics and while my children were upset the Paras started to cheer and crack obscenity...
- ... At Rossville Flats, an elderly man was thrown against the wall and beaten with a rifle and batons by three soldiers. Whilst the first aid man and priest was administering to a man who had been shot, the first aid man showed a white flag and he had to dive to the ground as the army shot at him. He then dipped the hankie in the man's blood and showed it but the army continued to fire...
- I witnessed a colleague being fired on by the army as she went to the aid of a wounded man. A man who followed behind her was shot and wounded.
- "We waved our hands to show the troops that we were First Aiders. When we got as far as a Saracen which was parked in Chamberlain St., we were told that we were going to be searched. Sgt. Alice Long [First Aider] said, "For Christ's sake, there are 3 men lying dead in the Square". The officer replied, "So what! Before nightfall there'll be many more dead". At this, he began laughing. One of the soldiers said, "Hip, Hip, Hooray", and he began laughing. At this stage we were put up against the wall with guns pointed at us. Sgt. Long said: "We need an ambulance", and the officer said "There's an ambulance", and he pointed to an empty ambulance. He started laughing again. I went to the back of the ambulance, looking for the driver who wasn't to be found.... The officer pointed to the far end of Chamberlain St... Sgt. Long and myself ran to the end of Chamberlain St. looking for the ambulance driver... It is my belief that the officer sent us on a wild goose chase...
Para 104. There have also been numerous allegations of soldiers firing carelessly from the hip or shooting deliberately at individuals who were clearly unarmed. These were all isolated allegations in which the soldier was not identified and which I could not investigate further. If, and insofar as, such incidents occurred the soldier in question must have accounted for the rounds fired by giving some different and lying story of how they were expended. Though such a possibility cannot be excluded, in general the accounts given by the soldiers of the circumstances in which they fired and the reasons why they did so were, in my opinion, truthful.
275. The eyewitness accounts, the report of Prof. Walsh and the statement of Para AA, demonstrate that the allegations referred to here by Lord Widgery were common to every death and injury that occurred and that those allegations were well founded in evidence available to Lord Widgery at the time. The allegations - based on evidence provided by eyewitnesses and photographs and by medical, ballistics and forensic sources - were anything but isolated: they were uniform and mutually corroborating. The new material further demonstrates that the possibility of implicated soldiers lying, so cavalierly dismissed, was not only real but self -evident from the testimony of civilian witnesses, from the pattern of discrepancies and alterations in the written statements of the soldiers and from the sheer inability to match the claims the soldiers had made to the facts as they were known. Lord Widgery chose to believe the soldiers' testimony in the face of reason, logic and the mountain of overwhelming oral, written, photographic, ballistics, forensic and medical evidence.
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