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Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry
- Volume VI - Chapter 112



The soldiers responsible for the Sector 4 casualties

Chapter 112: The soldiers responsible for the Sector 4 casualties

Contents

Paragraph

General considerations 112.1

Glenfada Park North 112.7

The suggestion that the casualties in Glenfada Park North were hit by accident 112.15

Corporal E 112.26

Lance Corporal F, Private G and Private H 112.30

Abbey Park 112.59

Private G’s state of mind 112.60

General considerations

112.1 It is important at this stage to bear in mind the following matters, which we have dealt with in detail earlier in this report, where we have given our reasons for reaching certain conclusions.

112.2 In the first place,1we are satisfied that the known casualties in Sector 4 were the only casualties of Army gunfire in that sector. These casualties were not using or seeking to use firearms or bombs, nor doing anything else that could have justified any of them being shot. Furthermore, we are satisfied that none of these casualties was doing anything that could have led a soldier to believe, albeit mistakenly, that any of them was posing a threat of causing death or serious injury.

1 Chapters 104, 107 and 110

112.3 It follows that there was in our view no justification for the shooting of any of the Sector 4 casualties.

112.4 In the second place,1we are satisfied that no soldier other than Corporal E, Lance Corporal F, Private G and Private H, all of Anti-Tank Platoon, could have been responsible for any of the casualties in Sector 4.

1 Chapter 99

112.5 In the third place,1we are satisfied that no paramilitary was holding lethal weapons (firearms or bombs) or seeking to use them against any of the soldiers who came into Glenfada Park North, though members of the Official IRA probably fled from the area carrying firearms as the soldiers arrived and shortly before the soldiers opened fire.

1 Chapter 111

112.6 Lastly,1 it is the case that none of the soldiers who fired in Sector 4 admitted shooting any of the Sector 4 casualties and none admitted that he had missed his target and hit someone else by mistake. Each of the soldiers insisted that he had fired at someone who was in possession of lethal weapons.

1 Chapter 99

Glenfada Park North

112.7 According to the accounts of these soldiers, they had between them fired ten shots at people on the south side of Glenfada Park North, hitting in total three bombers and two riflemen, all of whom fell, as well as a further man who had attempted to recover a nail bomb but who staggered away after being shot. In addition, Private H claimed to have fired a further 19 shots into a window on the same side of Glenfada Park North, hitting a sniper with the last of these shots.

112.8 We set out below a map on which we have marked the position of the targets at which the soldiers said that they had fired. These positions are based on those given in the soldiers’ trajectory photographs.

112.9 We have no doubt that between them these soldiers shot and mortally wounded Jim Wray and William McKinney; and shot and wounded Joe Friel, Michael Quinn, Joe Mahon and Patrick O’Donnell, all in Glenfada Park North.1We also have no doubt that Private G fired in Abbey Park, one of his shots fatally injuring Gerard McKinney and Gerald Donaghey. We consider the firing in Abbey Park below.

1 As appears elsewhere in this report (paragraphs 104.165–201), it is not clear whether Daniel Gillespie suffered a gunshot wound.

112.10 In short, the soldiers who fired in Glenfada Park North insisted that they had shot bombers and gunmen, which they had not; and denied that they had shot the casualties who were killed and wounded in Glenfada Park North, which in our view they had. As in the cases of Sectors 2 and 3, to our minds it inevitably follows that this materially undermines the credibility of the accounts given by the soldiers who fired. The evidence of one or more of them must be significantly inaccurate and incomplete.

112.11 We set out on the maps below the positions where in our view the Glenfada Park North casualties were likely to have been when they were shot. We deal with the casualties in Abbey Park below.

112.12 We have omitted Daniel Gillespie from this map, in view of the uncertainties surrounding his case.

112.13 We are satisfied that the four soldiers who between them were in our view responsible for the casualties in Glenfada Park North have given knowingly untruthful accounts of what they saw and did on Bloody Sunday. For example Corporal E falsely asserted that he had shot and hit a man deploying both a nail bomb and a petrol bomb. Lance Corporal F gave and continued to give false accounts of where and in what circumstances he fired his rifle on Bloody Sunday. Private G falsely denied that he had gone into Abbey Park and shot someone there. Private H gave a wholly fictitious account of firing 19 rounds at the same window in Glenfada Park North. It follows that in our view it would be unwise, in the absence of supporting evidence, to place reliance on what these soldiers have said by way of explanation for their shooting in Sector 4.

112.14 We consider below whether it is possible to identify which soldier shot which casualty and we express our view of the state of mind of the soldiers when they fired. However, before doing so we consider the suggestion made on behalf of the majority of represented soldiers, that the Glenfada Park North casualties were hit by accident.

The suggestion that the casualties in Glenfada Park North were hit by accident

112.15 Those acting for the majority of the represented soldiers submitted that the Tribunal should bear in mind the fact that:1

“those who were killed and injured in Glenfada Park North were close to those individuals who were armed with either rifles or nail bombs and at whom it is known soldiers fired. The potential for such innocent bystanders to have been hit by soldiers legitimately targeting the armed men close to them is obvious.”

1 FS7.2183

112.16 This submission, if correct, would mean that the soldiers who fired in Glenfada Park North had fired at gunmen or bombers, but had unfortunately and accidentally hit instead the Sector 4 casualties, who were neither gunmen nor bombers, nor posing any threat of causing death or serious injury.

112.17 The submission is based on three assumptions, namely that the soldiers shot at individuals who were armed with rifles or nail bombs; that those who were killed or injured were close to those individuals; and that in each case the casualty was accidentally hit by a shot intended for a gunman or bomber.

112.18 The first assumption depends on accepting as the truth the evidence of the soldiers themselves that they fired at individuals armed with rifles or nail bombs. The second assumption depends not only on this, but also on the assertion that those who were killed or injured were close to those armed individuals. The third assumption, while it again depends on accepting the evidence of the soldiers that they fired at people armed with rifles or bombs, simultaneously depends on rejecting their evidence that they hit their targets and not innocent bystanders.1

1 B95; B122; B137; B186; WT14.79-80; WT14.87; WT14.91-93; WT14.98; WT15.11-12

112.19 We do not, for the reasons that we have given,1accept as the truth the evidence of the soldiers that they fired at individuals armed with rifles or nail bombs. When the soldiers’ evidence is considered alongside the other evidence that we have considered, we are led to the conclusion that when the soldiers fired there were no gunmen or bombers in Glenfada Park North. Whether the soldiers believed, albeit mistakenly, that they had identified and fired at individuals armed with rifles or nail bombs is a matter that we consider below.

1 Chapters 100 and 103

112.20 As to gunmen, we have earlier expressed the view that none of the soldiers initially reported to their commander (Lieutenant 119) that they had seen gunmen, let alone fired at gunmen.1Even assuming that one or more of the soldiers had seen one or more of the Official IRA men fleeing with firearms from Glenfada Park North into Abbey Park, we are of the view that, on the evidence we have considered, these paramilitaries had left Glenfada Park North by the time the soldiers opened fire. Corporal E did not say at any stage that he had encountered or seen a man or men with firearms. Private H did not suggest that he had seen a man or men with firearms, apart from the figure in a window at whom he said he had fired 19 shots. Lance Corporal F made no mention of seeing or engaging gunmen in his initial Royal Military Police statement. As we explained elsewhere in this report,2we formed the strong impression that Lance Corporal F and Private G had tailored their later evidence in an attempt to reconcile their originally markedly conflicting accounts, in the case of Lance Corporal F by saying for the first time that he had seen a gunman.

1 Paragraphs 100.15–17 2Paragraphs 100.8–11

112.21 We have already stated that in our view, in the light of the evidence we have considered, there was no-one using or seeking to use such weapons in Glenfada Park North, or seeking to remove a bomb or bombs from the southern side of that area, when the soldiers arrived and opened fire.

112.22 It follows that in our view the first assumption on which the submission is based cannot be sustained.

112.23 We take the same view of the second assumption and for the same reasons.

112.24 As to the third assumption, we have found no evidence of any kind that suggests that the casualties were shot by mistake or by accident, save that in the cases of William McKinney and Joe Mahon, it may be that shots were directed at the former and that one that hit the former continued and hit the latter. However, William McKinney was not armed or posing any threat of causing death or serious injury.

112.25 In these circumstances we reject the suggestion that all or any of the casualties were accidentally shot by fire directed at individuals armed with rifles or nail bombs.

Corporal E

112.26 In our view Corporal E fired more or less in the direction that he said he did, and which his trajectory photograph shows.1We consider him to be the soldier whose firing wounded Patrick O’Donnell, though for reasons that we have given we reject his description of his target. His firing was probably witnessed by Lieutenant 119. In view of the unreliability of the evidence given by Lance Corporal F, Private G and Private H, it remains possible, but in our view highly unlikely, that one of these three soldiers was responsible for the injury to Patrick O’Donnell.

1 B116

112.27 We have nothing that suggests to us that Corporal E fired additional shots in Glenfada Park North in a different direction. In our view he is unlikely to have been responsible for any of the other casualties.

Corporal E’s state of mind

112.28 Corporal E may have seen Patrick O’Donnell taking cover and deliberately shot at him or in the direction where he had gone, or he may have simply shot at the fence, not intending to hit anyone but rather to frighten people off. If it was the former we consider that there was no justification for targeting Patrick O’Donnell, who was not posing any threat of causing death or serious injury. If it was the latter then it seems to us that such firing was in complete disregard of the obvious grave risk to life or limb.

112.29 Corporal E in our view lied about his target. This lie, coupled with the other evidence of the situation in Glenfada Park North, leads us to conclude that when he fired he could not have held a belief that he was justified in doing so. We can see no grounds for supposing that he may have fired in fear or panic, or believing, albeit mistakenly, that he had identified someone armed or posing a threat of causing death or serious injury.

Lance Corporal F, Private G and Private H

112.30 For reasons that appear hereafter, we deal with these three soldiers together.

112.31 Apart from Patrick O’Donnell, three people were shot and fell in Glenfada Park North, namely Jim Wray, William McKinney and Joe Mahon. Joe Friel and Michael Quinn were hit but did not fall and escaped through the alleyway into Abbey Park. We put Daniel Gillespie on one side for the purpose of this analysis, in view of the uncertainty about how he came to be injured.

112.32 Lance Corporal F said that he had shot someone who fell; Private G also said he shot someone who fell and that either he or Lance Corporal F shot someone else who also fell. Private H said that he shot someone who fell and someone else whom he hit but who staggered away.

112.33 William McKinney and Joe Mahon fell in Glenfada Park North. So did Jim Wray. There is thus a degree of correlation in relation to the casualties between what we are sure happened and what the soldiers said happened. Assuming that the person whom Private G said that he or Lance Corporal F had hit was the same as the person whom Lance Corporal F said he had hit, there would on the soldiers’ accounts have been a total of three people who fell in Glenfada Park North. For the reasons we have given above, we are sure that three people did fall in Glenfada Park North. Two other people were hit and got away through the alleyway.

112.34 Private G throughout his accounts maintained that he had fired three shots in Glenfada Park North; and he denied firing additional shots in Abbey Park, though we have no doubt that he did. As we have described earlier in this report,1he also claimed to have fired two shots on his way into Glenfada Park North and one shot at a later stage at Block 1 of the Rossville Flats. We consider that he fired at least one shot and may have fired two on his way into Glenfada Park North; that he fired two shots in Abbey Park; and that he later fired one shot at Block 1 of the Rossville Flats.

1 Paragraphs 94.3–37 and 123.181–211

112.35 We have earlier expressed the view that Private G probably fired in total six shots, which is what he claimed he did. On the basis that he fired one or two shots on his way into Glenfada Park North, two in Abbey Park and one later at Block 1 of the Rossville Flats, it would follow that he did not fire three shots in Glenfada Park North, but only one or two.

112.36 In his trajectory photograph, Private G put the line of what he said were his three shots in Glenfada Park North into the south-west corner.

112.37 In his trajectory photograph, Lance Corporal F depicted shots in Glenfada Park North and at Block 1 of the Rossville Flats. We deal with his alleged shots at Block 1 elsewhere in this report.1So far as Glenfada Park North is concerned, his shots are shown slightly to the east of the line depicted by Private G.

1 Paragraphs 123.118–180

112.38 In his trajectory photograph, Private H put the line of what he said were his first two shots slightly to the west of those depicted by Lance Corporal F, in other words between the lines depicted by Lance Corporal F and Private G.1

1 The line of what Private H said were his 19 shots at a window is also shown on this trajectory photograph.

112.39 These trajectory photographs, taken at face value and considered with the positions of the casualties, could be said to indicate that Private G fired the shot that first hit Jim Wray, he being the furthest to the west of the casualties who fell in Glenfada Park North. However, Michael Quinn and Joe Friel were also shot in the same area, though they then left Glenfada Park North, so Private G may also (or instead) be responsible for one or both of these casualties.

112.40 On the same basis, the trajectory photographs and the position of the casualties could be said to indicate that either Lance Corporal F or Private H was responsible for shooting William McKinney and Joe Mahon, both of whom fell further to the east. As we have pointed out earlier in this report,1William McKinney was hit by one or two bullets, one of which probably continued and hit Joe Mahon. Lance Corporal F said that he had hit his target twice, but so did Private H.

1 Paragraphs 104.485–487

112.41 In our view it is not possible to tell whether it was Lance Corporal F or Private H who shot William McKinney, and consequently Joe Mahon. Indeed, the possibility exists that each hit William McKinney with one shot but missed with the other. We should note at this point that Private 027 gave an at best second-hand description of a soldier hitting two people with one shot. Those two people could have been William McKinney and Joe Mahon. In one account Private 027 attributed this to Private H and in another to Private G. In the end, we concluded that either Lance Corporal F or Private H could have been responsible for the shooting of William McKinney and Joe Mahon. It is possible, but in our view unlikely, that Private G was responsible for these casualties.

112.42 The shot Private H said that he fired at a man who was hit in the shoulder but staggered away could have been the round that hit Joe Friel, who was shot across the chest. If Private H was correct in describing this target as wearing a blue jacket and jeans, this could be another indication that he shot Joe Friel. However, as we have pointed out above, the possibility exists that Private G fired the shot that hit Joe Friel.

112.43 Michael Quinn was shot in the face. There is nothing in the accounts of any of the soldiers that provides any indication as to which soldier shot him. On the basis that Private G only fired one shot in Glenfada Park North, which hit Jim Wray (or Joe Friel), he did not hit Michael Quinn, though it is just possible that the first shot to hit Jim Wray continued and hit Michael Quinn. However, it is also possible that Private G fired two shots in Glenfada Park North, one of which did hit Michael Quinn. On the basis that Lance Corporal F fired only two shots in Glenfada Park North, one or both of which hit William McKinney, it would seem unlikely that he shot Michael Quinn, who was further to the west. As to Private H, we are sure that this soldier did not fire 19 shots at a window in Glenfada Park North, as he claimed that he had done. As we explain elsewhere in this report,1it seems that after the initial burst of firing by soldiers in Sector 4 he fired one shot at a window on the south side of Glenfada Park North, and later a number of shots in Sector 2 and south of Sector 5. We do not know the exact number of shots that he fired in these other sectors, so it is possible that he fired more shots during the initial firing in Glenfada Park North than he has admitted doing.

1 Paragraphs 105.8–30

112.44 On the basis of the foregoing analysis, it is possible that Private G fired the first shot to hit Jim Wray; that either Lance Corporal F or Private H (or both of them) were responsible for the shot or shots that hit William McKinney, one of which injured Joe Mahon; that Private G or Private H was responsible for the shot that injured Joe Friel; and that either Private H or Private G was responsible for the shot that wounded Michael Quinn.

112.45 Such conclusions are based on accepting that these soldiers fired the number of shots that they claimed to have discharged on Bloody Sunday and on accepting (with the exception of Private H’s 19 shots at a window in Glenfada Park North) that their trajectory photographs do give an indication of where they directed their fire in Glenfada Park North. We have previously expressed the view that the soldiers probably did fire only the number of shots they claimed. As to the trajectory photographs, these do show a degree of correlation with where we are sure the casualties in Glenfada Park North were shot, but are based on evidence from soldiers whose accounts in many respects were in our view untruthful. Thus we are far from certain that the analysis based on these assumptions is correct.

112.46 As to the second shot that probably hit Jim Wray as he lay on the ground, Private 027, who for reasons given elsewhere in this report1was in our view giving a second-hand account, attributed this to Private H. On his own account, Private H fired at a man he described as running off with a nail bomb after the shots that he and the others had initially fired and after people had fallen. We do not accept this account of his target, and, as we have said, there are indications that Private H may not have fired the shot that hit Joe Friel.

1 Paragraphs 96.9–12

112.47 In our view Jim Wray was probably shot on the ground after the initial firing. Private G was likely to have been the nearest to Jim Wray, as he said that he had gone down the western side of Glenfada Park North and we are sure that he went into Abbey Park. If he fired only one shot in Glenfada Park North, it could be said to be unlikely that he was responsible for the second (as opposed to the first) shot to hit Jim Wray, but he may have fired two shots. On the basis that Corporal E and Lance Corporal F fired only the shots they claimed in Glenfada Park North, which we consider was probably the case, it is unlikely that either was responsible for the second shot to hit Jim Wray. Private H was the only soldier who said he fired in Glenfada Park North after the initial burst of firing and whose shot count was large enough to include a shot at Jim Wray on the ground.

112.48 On the basis of this analysis, it could be said that the soldier who fired the second shot to hit Jim Wray was either Private G or Private H.

112.49 We now turn to consider whether the civilian evidence of soldiers firing in Glenfada Park North, which we have considered earlier in this report,1supports or detracts from the foregoing analysis.

1 Chapters 102, 103 and 104

112.50 We have concluded that one or more of the soldiers in Glenfada Park North did fire from the hip, or from between the hip and the shoulder; and that one of these shots hit Joe Friel. We also concluded that it was probably one of the leading soldiers who fired this shot. On this basis, the soldier was unlikely to have been Private H, who was not the first to come into Glenfada Park North. Private G’s evidence was that he shot from a kneeling position, and there is civilian evidence of a kneeling soldier. On this basis the possibility exists that it was not Private G who shot Joe Friel, which (since we take the view that Corporal E probably did not fire into the south-western corner of Glenfada Park North) leaves Lance Corporal F. However, in view of what we consider was the unreliability of Private G’s evidence generally, we do not regard his assertion that he fired from a kneeling position as conclusive. Thus it remains possible that he fired the shot that wounded Joe Friel.

112.51 From our examination of the civilian evidence of the shooting by soldiers in Glenfada Park North, we have found nothing that helps us to identify which soldier shot which casualty, save for the evidence which indicated that it was one of the leading soldiers that shot Joe Friel.

112.52 In these circumstances, though we consider it probable that Corporal E was responsible for the injury to Patrick O’Donnell, it is difficult to be confident about attributing any of the other casualties to any particular soldier. All we can say is that to our minds it is more likely than not that Lance Corporal F or Private H fired the shot that mortally wounded William McKinney; that one or other of these soldiers was responsible for the shot that wounded Joe Mahon; that Private G or Private H fired the shot that wounded Michael Quinn; that Lance Corporal F or Private G fired the shot that wounded Joe Friel; that Private G or Private H fired the first shot to hit Jim Wray; and that Private G or Private H fired the second shot that hit Jim Wray as this casualty lay on the ground.

Lance Corporal F’s, Private G’s and Private H’s state of mind

112.53 There remains the question as to whether any of these soldiers held a belief that he was justified in firing, notwithstanding that in our view none of the casualties was doing anything that could have led any of the soldiers to hold such a belief.

112.54 Having read the accounts of the soldiers and listened to Lance Corporal F and Private H, and in the light of the other evidence to which we have referred in the course of considering the events of Sector 4, we are of the view that none of the soldiers who fired did so in the belief that he had or might have identified a person in possession of, or using or about to use, bombs or firearms. No doubt the soldiers were correctly on their guard against attack from paramilitaries, and may have been highly apprehensive that such an attack might happen. We appreciate that the soldiers would have had little time to assess and respond to what was happening. But we cannot accept as truthful any of their varying accounts of what they say they faced when they went into Glenfada Park North.

112.55 In our view they must have seen people simply trying to leave the area, many frightened and in shock after seeing or learning of the events in Rossville Street and fleeing when the soldiers came in. We cannot see how any of the soldiers could have thought that he or his colleagues were in such danger from individuals among these people that firing at them was justified. It will be borne in mind that William McKinney and Jim Wray were both shot in the back and that none of the casualties (with the possible exception of Daniel Gillespie) appears to have been facing the soldiers when shot. We are sure that these soldiers fired (without warning that they were about to fire1) either in the belief that no-one in the area towards which they respectively fired was posing a threat of causing death or serious injury, or not caring whether or not anyone there was posing such a threat. With the possible exception of Private H, we consider it unlikely that they fired in a state of fear or panic.

1 Corporal E stated that he shouted “drop it” before he fired (B87).

112.56 Taking each of the casualties in turn, we do not find it possible to say with any confidence whether Michael Quinn, Joe Friel and (if he was hit by a bullet) Daniel Gillespie were specifically targeted, as opposed to being the victims of shots indiscriminately fired (one or more from the hip) at a number of people in the south-west corner of Glenfada Park North. In our view, however, both Jim Wray and William McKinney were specifically targeted, as there appear to have been few people near them at the time. We deal below with the second shot that hit Jim Wray. Joe Mahon may not have been specifically targeted but was probably wounded by a bullet that hit William McKinney.

112.57 As to the shot that in our view hit Jim Wray as he lay on the ground, we consider that this must have been deliberately fired at him. He was on his own. There is nothing to suggest that he could have been hit by mistake or by accident. No-one could have believed that Jim Wray was posing a threat of causing death or serious injury; no-one admitted firing at a man lying on the ground; and no-one suggested that there was or could possibly have been any real or imagined justification for shooting a man in this position.

112.58 Our overall assessment of what happened in Glenfada Park North is that the soldiers who went in, led by Corporal E, fired at fleeing civilians, and then, in the knowledge that what they had done was unjustified, proceeded to invent false accounts of what they had seen and done. It is possible that Private H, who told us he was frightened when he went into Glenfada Park North, fired in a state of fear or panic, without giving any proper thought to what he was doing, but we are far from certain of this. We repeat that we have found no evidence that suggests to us that any of the four soldiers might have believed, albeit mistakenly, that he had, or might have, identified a target at which he was justified in firing.

Abbey Park

112.59 For the reasons that we have given,1we have no doubt that Private G was the soldier who fired in Abbey Park and mortally wounded Gerard McKinney and Gerald Donaghey.

1 Chapter 107

Private G’s state of mind

112.60 In our view Private G deliberately targeted Gerard McKinney in Abbey Park. Gerard McKinney and Gerald Donaghey were on their own. Private G denied firing in Abbey Park but we are sure that he did so. We have already concluded that in our view Private G neither had nor could have believed that he had any justification for shooting Gerard McKinney, a person who was not posing any threat of causing death or serious injury. His shot passed through Gerard McKinney and mortally wounded Gerald Donaghey. Private G may not have realised that his shot had had this additional effect.

112.61 There is no evidence that Gerald Donaghey was doing anything when he was shot that could have led any soldier to believe that he was posing a threat of causing death or serious injury. If, as we consider was the case, Private G did not target Gerald Donaghey, what the latter was doing is in this context irrelevant. We deal elsewhere in this report1with the separate question as to whether Gerald Donaghey had nail bombs in his pockets at this time, but as will be seen when we deal with that question, we are sure that if (which we consider was probably the case) he had nail bombs in his pockets, these were not visible to those who came to his aid and accordingly could not have been visible to Private G. In our view Gerald Donaghey was trying to leave the area when he was shot.

1 Chapters 125–145

112.62 There was in our view no good reason for Private G’s shot down the alleyway between Abbey Park and Glenfada Park South. We consider that this shot was intended to frighten rather than hit people; and was, without any justification whatever, fired with complete disregard to the obviously grave risk to life or limb.

112.63 We now turn to consider the circumstances in which the people who had been sheltering at or near the southern end of the eastern block of Glenfada Park North were arrested before we turn to the events of Sector 5.