Manus Deery Inquest: Soldier witness says shooting did not breach Army rules

The 15-year-old was eating chips before he died Image copyright Deery Family
Image caption Manus Deery, 15, was shot dead in 1972

A soldier who witnessed the shooting of a Londonderry teenager 44 years ago has told an inquest he does not believe it was in breach of Army guidelines.

The man, identified as soldier 'B', was giving evidence at an inquest into the death of 15-year-old Manus Deery.

The teenager was shot in the head in 1972 by a soldier named on Monday as William Glasgow, who died in 2001.

Mr Glasgow maintained that he fired at what appeared to be a gunman, but that the stray bullet killed the teenager.

The Deery family have always disputed the Army's version of events and believe the teenager was killed unlawfully.

Yellow card rules

On the evening of his death, Manus Deery's friends said the teenager was celebrating getting his first pay packet and was eating chips before he was shot.

On Thursday, three siblings of the teenager were at the inquest to see soldier 'B' give evidence.

The inquest heard that two Ministry of Defence (MoD) notes from 1972 classed the shooting as being outside the Army's yellow card regulations.

The rules stipulate when a soldier can open fire lawfully.

The court was also told that in October 1973 the Ministry of Defence received legal advice saying that the shooting could not be justified in law.

However, soldier 'B' told the court he believes the shooting did not breach breach yellow card rules.

The inquest heard that, on the day after the shooting, soldier 'B' gave a statement in which he described spotting a man through a telescope carrying a rifle in his right hand.

'Very poor view'

He said he told Mr Glasgow there was a gunman.

The inquest heard that Mr Glasgow also looked through the telescope and then fired at the gunman who he said had just gone into the entrance of an archway at the back of the Bogside Inn.

Giving evidence from behind a screen, and visible only to the coroner and the Deery family, soldier 'B' said on Thursday that his view of the archway was very poor.

He said he was looking over William Glasgow's shoulder when the shot was fired, heard shouting and saw people in the archway.

Soldier 'B' also told the court that he had never seen an SLR rifle - which he was carrying the night of the shooting - fitted with a telescope, and that they just had sights.

However, when asked again if his recollection was likely to have been better the day after the shooting, he replied yes.

When asked by lawyers by the Deery family how he felt when he learned of the death of the teenager, he said he had wondered how a 15-year-old had got in the way of what he thought was a gunman in the archway.

He was also asked if he had anything to say to Manus Deery's siblings, who were seated opposite him in court.

He replied: "I'm sorry about it, but that's all I can do at the moment."

The inquest continues.

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