Soldier 'lawfully' killed IRA man in Londonderry

Image caption,
Operation Motorman was carried out in Londonderry in 1972

Soldiers acted lawfully in shooting dead a member of the IRA in Londonderry, a report has found.

The Historical Enquiries Team looked into the death of Seamus Bradley in the Creggan area of the city during Operation Motorman in July 1972.

It said his death was never "effectively investigated".

However, the report said that if the soldiers were telling the truth about the shooting, then they had operated within army rules and the law.

According to the HET report, Mr Bradley was shot and killed by a soldier from the Royal Scots Regiment.

The report said that in the early hours of Monday 31 July, members of the regiment went to the Creggan area to secure wasteground.

The soldier who fired said he saw him run towards some trees, carrying what looked like a sub-machine gun and then climbed a tree.

The soldier said he fired four times and Seamus Bradley fell from the tree.

The report said it was almost an hour later when some other soldiers went to Mr Bradley and took him to St Peter's school where an army medical post had been set up. He was formally pronounced dead there.

Mr Bradley's brother, Danny, has disputed the location and circumstances of the shooting.

In evidence given to the HET, he said he had been with Seamus the night he had been killed.

He said a group of 15, including himself and Seamus went to Creggan shops, some wearing masks. A nail bomb was thrown into the road.

He said they felt "trapped" by the Army, he said that Seamus was shot twice by a soldier, and he was then driven away.

The report said it took nearly an hour for soldiers to find Seamus, and when they did get to him, a search of the area was carried out but no weapon was found.

The HET said that either there was no weapon in the first place or it had been removed.

The report added that had Mr Bradley been recovered from the scene earlier he may have survived.

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney said: "The HET report into the death of Seamus Bradley has not in anyway resolved the questions as to why Seamus was allowed to die.

"Given the recent revelation in a report by Dr Patricia Lundy which stated that the HET gave preference to and did not properly investigate British Army soldiers I am concerned that the HET report into Seamus Bradley's death had the line, 'If the soldiers were telling the truth then Seamus Bradley was killed lawfully'.

"If there is the slightest doubt that the soldiers were not telling the truth then the HET should not has issued its findings as lawful death. Many of the other witnesses have given different statement as to how and where Seamus was shot, as well as no weapon being found despite the fact that the British soldier said Seamus was armed with a sub machine gun.

"I am also horrified to learn that if Seamus had have been given immediate medical treatment he most probably would have survived, and questions need to be asked if this is true, why he was allowed to lie injured without receiving medical aid.

"It is important that the truth of the matter is brought out into the open and I believe that this inquiry has failed to do that in every way."