Northern Ireland

Daniel Hegarty's family 'overwhelmed' by inquest findings

Daniel Hegarty
Image caption Daniel was shot dead during Operation Motorman

The solicitor for the family of a boy shot dead by a soldier almost 40 years ago has said they are "overwhelmed" by the findings of an inquest jury.

On Friday the jurors unanimously found that 15-year-old Daniel Hegarty posed no risk when he was shot twice in Londonderry during Operation Motorman in July 1972.

His cousin Christopher was also wounded.

Des Doherty said prosecutions were now a "definite possibility".

"The full rigour of the law has to be applied and it is now of course a matter for the coroner," the solicitor said.

"This case was not about vengeance. It was about justice."

The jury rejected claims that warnings had been shouted to the two teenagers before they were shot.

The operation was aimed at reclaiming "no go areas" in the city from the IRA.

Daniel, who was a labourer, was shot twice in the head by a soldier close to his home in Creggan. His cousin Christopher, 16, was shot in the head by the same soldier but survived.

The jury found that none of the soldiers present attempted to "approach the injured youths to either search them or provide medical assistance".

Mr Doherty said the record had now been "set straight".

This is the second inquest into Daniel's death.

Image caption In 1972 there were a number of "no go areas" for the British army in Derry

The initial inquest was held in 1973 and recorded an open verdict. A second inquest was ordered by the Attorney General in 2009 following an examination by the Historical Enquiries Team.

The report found that the RUC investigation at the time was "hopelessly inadequate and dreadful".

The inquest opened on Monday and heard from Daniel's sister Margaret Brady. She described how her mother continued to set a place for him at the table and call him for dinner for months after his death.

In 2007, the British government apologised to the Hegarty family after describing Daniel as a terrorist.

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