Manus Deery Inquest: Soldiers 'aware of army guidelines'

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

An inquest into the death of a Derry teenager in 1972 has been told by a British Army commander that soldiers were fully aware of Army guidelines.

Manus Deery, 15, was shot in the head by a soldier named on Monday as William Glasgow, who died in 2001.

The Army claimed that they were shooting at a gunman in the Bogside, something the Deery family rejects.

Commanding officer Trevor Wilson said Army guidance was at the forefront of everyone's minds.

Mr Wilson was in charge of C company who were deployed in Derry in 1972.

C company included William Glasgow and another soldier, who can only be identified as soldier B, who said they saw a gunman at an archway near the Bogside Inn.

Yellow card guidance

Londonderry Coroner's Court was told of a statement that Mr Wilson had made previously, in which he was asked to explain the nature of the training given to soldiers and if they had received any training in long and short range firing.

In his statement, Mr Wilson said that he could not recall any specific regiment training but he then corrected himself and said that he recalled taking the company away for a weekend of training which was specific to Northern Ireland, prior to deployment.

He added that all soldiers were required to carry a yellow card and that the guidance on that card was at the forefront of everyone's minds before and during posting.

Later, when asked by counsel for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the PSNI if there was anything he would like to say to the Deery family, who were in court, Mr Wilson said: "It's difficult to comprehend the devastating effects that the loss of Manus at such a young age and in such tragic circumstances must have had on the family.

"You have my deepest sympathy and I hope this inquiry may provide some comfort to you.

"Finally I shall continue to remember Manus and you in my thoughts and in my prayers."

The court heard that Mr Wilson did not seek nor was he given information about the shooting at the time or during the intervening years.

It was only 18 months ago that he learned that the person shot was not a gunman, but a 15-year-old boy.

The counsel for the MoD also raised concerns about a report carried by the BBC which stated that Soldier 'B' ordered Private William Glasgow to fire the fatal shot.

The MoD counsel said that all sides were of the opinion that there was "no evidence of any kind intended to indicate that Soldier B had given any order or given any instruction in relation to the firing of the round".

The coroner said it was a pity that this was reported wrongly.

The MoD counsel also said it was about two and a half hours after the clarification was made in court that the BBC changed its online copy. Other media outlets were mentioned in court, too.

The inquest continues and is expected to last until the middle of next week.

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