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Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry
- Volume III - Chapter 43



The treatment of Duncan Clark and William John Doherty after arrest

Chapter 43: The treatment of Duncan Clark and William John Doherty after arrest

43.1 We have set out part of Duncan Clark’s NICRA statement above1 when dealing with his arrest. That statement continued:2

“The only person in the armoured car was an elderly civilian (badly cut and bleeding). About 10 minutes later gas started to come into the car. I opened the door to get air and was promptly hit on the head with a rifle butt. The cut received required 2 stitches later.

The armoured car was then driven to William St. We sat there and after about 5 minutes a paratrooper opened the door and said, ‘What do you think this is, you Irish Cunt’ and then fired a rubber bullet into my face (from about 5 feet). I was badly stunned, and bled profusely.

Sometime after this the elderly man and myself were taken from the armoured car and put into a military police land rover where we remained for about ½ hour. The paratrooper who arrested me took me from the land rover to the back of an army lorry and told me to jump inside. ”

1 Paragraph 30.17 2AC61.1

43.2 We have also set out above part of William John Doherty’s NICRA statement when dealing with his arrest. That statement continued:1

“I was put inside the Saracen. As I was sitting there, he said ‘You Irish bastard’. He then lifted his rifle and hit me in the face with the butt. The injury was in the area of my left eye. Then a soldier, who I believe to be the same one, fired a rubber bullet at my left arm, hitting me just above the elbow. The paid [sic] was very bad. I said nothing, because if I had I would have been murdered.

About 15 to 20 minutes later we were taken out of the Saracen. I was accompanied all this time by another man who had also been arrested. He witnessed all these incidents. His name is Mr Stuart Duncan Clarke of […], Londonderry. He is an Englishman from London. I also witnessed him being assaulted, and he had to have 4 stitches put in his nose.

We were taken to the Military Police van as I stated earlier. Our particulars were taken. We were in the lorry for 20 to 25 minutes. We were no handled roughly then. The lorry then moved further up the waste ground towards Rossville Street flats.

We were then driven to William Street and transferred to a large Army truck. ”

1 AD113.1

43.3 It is clear from the earlier part of William John Doherty’s NICRA statement that it was the soldier who had brought him to the APC who hit him in the face. On William John Doherty’s evidence, the same soldier had been responsible for his arrest.

43.4 William John Doherty gave much the same account to Philip Jacobson of the Sunday Times Insight Team, describing the soldier who arrested him, and then took him to the APC and hit him in the face, as “certainly scottish ”, although in contrast to what he had said in his NICRA statement, he told Philip Jacobson that he was not sure whether it was the same soldier who then fired the rubber bullet that hit him in the arm.1In his note of this interview, Philip Jacobson recorded that he had seen the scars that the rifle blow had caused.

1 AD113.3-5

43.5 We have shown above the two photographs taken by Colman Doyle of Duncan Clark being taken by Lieutenant N and Private INQ 1918 towards Lieutenant N’s APC. Next on the contact sheets that contain these photographs is a photograph Colman Doyle took of the scene at the back of that APC. For ease of reference we show below the two photographs of Duncan Clark being taken to the APC, together with the photograph of the scene at the APC.

43.6 From our discussion of the circumstances of Duncan Clark’s arrest, we are sure that the soldier on the right of this photograph is Private INQ 1918, the radio operator. We are also sure that the soldier on the left is Lieutenant N, who in his oral evidence to this Inquiry agreed that this was probably the case.1The civilian partially hidden by the back door of the APC is in our view Duncan Clark, as from the contact sheets it can be seen that this photograph was taken after those showing him being brought to the APC.

1 Day 322/87

43.7 Colman Doyle was using three cameras on the day.1 His photographs of William John Doherty being escorted to Lieutenant N’s APC, which are reproduced earlier in this report,2 were taken with a different camera from the one he used to photograph Duncan Clark. It seems to us that since William John Doherty was put into the APC before Duncan Clark and since the photographs of Duncan Clark being escorted to the APC show him in a position that must be very close to the APC, Colman Doyle must have taken the photographs of William John Doherty before the photographs of Duncan Clark being escorted to the APC and of the scene at the APC. As we have already noted, in his NICRA statement Duncan Clark recorded that when he was ordered to get into the APC there was already in the vehicle an elderly civilian (badly cut and bleeding) ”.3

1 Day 72/133

2 Paragraph 40.11

3 AC61.1

43.8 According to his first RMP statement,1after bringing William John Doherty to the APC, Corporal 162 stayed there about 10 minutes . On the basis of this account, he is in our view one of the other two soldiers seen at the back of the APC in the last of the photographs reproduced above. The remaining soldier seems to us to have been Lance Corporal INQ 768, whose evidence of staying at the back of the APC we have already considered.2

1 B1960 2Paragraphs 24.8–9

43.9 In our view it is possible, as he claimed, that William John Doherty was struck on the face by a rifle butt when he was in the APC, though to our minds the possibility also exists that he did not wish to describe the circumstances of his arrest by Sergeant O, and so said that he had been hit with a rifle butt in the APC in order to account for facial injuries that had in fact been caused by Sergeant O in the course of arresting him.

43.10 According to Philip Jacobson’s note,1William John Doherty was hurled into the vehicle and “as he got up the scottish para said ‘you irish bastard’ and crashed the butt of his rifle into doherty’s face ”. This is not consistent with William John Doherty’s NICRA statement, in which he described being struck as he was sitting in the vehicle.

1 AD113.3

43.11 If William John Doherty was struck in the APC this must in our view have been before Lieutenant N and Private INQ 1918 arrived with Duncan Clark, as the latter does not refer in his NICRA statement to an assault on William John Doherty, but only to seeing him in the APC with the injuries he described. Lieutenant N told the Widgery Inquiry that he moved straight to the back of the Chamberlain Street houses after putting his prisoner in his APC, leaving a corporal to take charge.1The photograph shown above seems to show Lieutenant N leaving the vehicle to go back. Lance Corporal INQ 768 told us in his written statement2that he did not see anyone beaten up, and it is possible he was right about this, since if the incident took place it was inside the APC and he might not have been in a position to see it, though it is also possible that he might have heard it. Private INQ 1918 told us that he had no memory of going back to the APC either with Duncan Clark or at any other stage,3though in our view the photographs show that he did go with Duncan Clark to that vehicle.

1 B399

2 C768.5

3 Day 342/109; Day 342/117; Day 342/133

43.12 In his NICRA account and in his interview with Philip Jacobson, William John Doherty stated that it was the soldier who arrested him, whom he described as Scottish, who took him back to the APC and there assaulted him. As we have already described,1it was Sergeant O, who is Scottish and who told us that he was the only Scottish soldier in his platoon,2who arrested William John Doherty. The evidence that we have considered, including Corporal 162’s own account, shows that it was the latter who took him back to the APC, and that Sergeant O went back towards his own APC. Accordingly, William John Doherty was wrong in saying that it was the soldier who arrested him who took him to the APC and there assaulted him.

1 Chapter 40 2Day 335/139-140

43.13 Corporal 162 was asked in his oral evidence whether anyone had assaulted the man in the APC.1His answer was Not as far as I am aware .

1 Day 323/194

43.14 We are left in considerable doubt as to whether or not William John Doherty was hit with a rifle butt when he was in the APC. It is clear that he was hit on the head by Sergeant O in the course of his arrest and to our minds this could account for the injuries observed by Duncan Clark. It is possible that he was hit twice on the head, once by Sergeant O and once again in the APC, but in the end we have concluded that the likely explanation for his injury is that it was caused by Sergeant O alone in the course of arresting William John Doherty; and that William John Doherty made up an account of being struck by a rifle in the APC in order to divert attention from the circumstances of his arrest. His wrong identification of the Scottish soldier who arrested him as the soldier who had assaulted him in the APC and his inconsistent accounts of what he was doing when, according to him, he was struck in the APC, in our view lend support to this conclusion.

43.15 According to Duncan Clark, he too was hit on the head with a rifle butt, but from his NICRA statement it appears that this was some ten minutes after he had been put into the APC. We have no reason to doubt that he was hit, but we are unable to determine which soldier was responsible for what in our view was an unjustified assault.

43.16 In the statements that they made at the time, both Duncan Clark and William John Doherty described a soldier firing his baton gun into the APC. Duncan Clark stated that this happened after the vehicle had been driven to William Street, that the soldier fired from a range of about 5ft and that the round hit him in the face. William John Doherty stated that he too was hit by a baton round that hit him just above the elbow of his left arm.

43.17 Captain 200 was the Commander of Composite Platoon (Guinness Force). He had come into the Bogside in one of the soft-sided lorries of that platoon. In his RMP statement,1he described moving to the northern end of the Rossville Flats to check in with his Company Commander. On arriving, I noticed one APC of the Mortar Platoon arrive with at least two civilian bodies in the back. Also at this time I saw one of our soldiers fire one rubber bullet from a RUC gun into the back of another APC at point blank range. Captain 200 told us in his written statement to this Inquiry that he did not recognise the soldier who had done this but that it was not one of his men.2

1 B1980 2B2022.007

43.18 Lieutenant N’s APC was moved after the shooting had ended in Sector 2 to the north end of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats. Major Loden then ordered Lieutenant N to use his APC to collect bodies from the rubble barricade in Rossville Street, and this was then done.1We consider this event in more detail later in this report,2but William John Doherty and Duncan Clark must have been removed from the APC before this happened. Thus, in our view Duncan Clark was mistaken in recalling that the baton gun was fired when the APC was in William Street and Captain 200 was mistaken in recalling that the baton gun was fired into a different APC from the one that collected bodies.

1 B399-400 2Chapter 122

43.19 What we regard as certain is that a baton round was fired into the APC containing Duncan Clark and William John Doherty, and that this occurred after Lieutenant N’s APC had been moved to the north end of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats and before that APC was used to collect bodies from the rubble barricade.

43.20 It was submitted by the representatives of the majority of the families that the soldier who fired this baton round was Private 019, one of the two baton gunners who had travelled into the Bogside in Lieutenant N’s APC.1

1 FS1.1337-1338

43.21 Though it is possible that Private 019 was responsible, we are not persuaded that he was. The submission does not seem to take account of the fact that the baton round was fired after the APC had moved to the north end of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats. In his RMP statement,1Corporal 162 recorded that after he had taken his prisoner (William John Doherty) to the APC he had stayed there about ten minutes, and had then left to return to his platoon but was recalled to move the vehicle forward to the south [sic] end of Block 1 Rossville Flats. After moving the vehicle I left the prisoner in care of […] and […] . In his oral evidence to this Inquiry, Corporal 162 told us that he would not have known at the time which was the south end and which the north, and that he could no longer remember to where the vehicle was moved.2In our view the reference to the south end of Block 1 is a mistake for the north end.

1 B1960-1961 2Day 323/192

43.22 On the basis of Corporal 162’s account, Private 013 could be the soldier responsible, but so could any of the other baton gunners of Mortar Platoon. None admitted to firing his baton gun in this manner. It is also possible that a baton gunner from one of the other platoons of Support Company was responsible, though we accept Captain 200’s evidence that it was no-one from Composite Platoon (Guinness Force).

43.23 In our view there neither was nor could have been believed to be any justification for this firing, which amounted in our view not just to a vicious and unprovoked assault, but one likely to cause significant injury.

43.24 In his NICRA statement,1William John Doherty recorded that he had been photographed 3 or 4 times in the Saracen before being assaulted, and later on again in the barracks . In our view the following photograph of him is likely to be one taken before he was taken to Fort George. He stated that he had been photographed before being assaulted, but it seems to us more likely that the photograph was taken after he was taken from the APC and put into an RMP vehicle.2We have found no evidence that suggests to us that he was assaulted after he had come into the custody of the RMP.

1 AD113.2 2AD113.1

43.25 The photograph shows blood on his shirt. This photograph has been cropped and so does not show the whole of his left arm, but since he was clothed, it is not possible to see even from the uncropped photograph whether he had any injury to his left arm.

43.26 Corporal 126 (a member of the Royal Military Police) recorded in his RMP statement1 that he was present when an RMP team, which included himself and Lance Corporal 121, documented Duncan Clark and William John Doherty, apparently while they were still in the area of the Rossville Flats. In his statement to this Inquiry,2 he told us that this process would have involved taking a Polaroid photograph of the arresting soldier and the arrested civilian together. The complete version of the cropped photograph shown above does include Sergeant O. In his statement for the Widgery Inquiry,3 Sergeant O said that the RMP team was in two Land Rovers. In our view the photograph shown above was taken in an RMP Land Rover and not in Lieutenant N’s APC. In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,4 Corporal 126 said that he now had no recollection of Duncan Clark or William John Doherty, or of seeing civilians with the injuries described by either of them, and said that if he had seen such injuries he would have remembered them. It seems to us that while he might well now have no recollection, he could not have failed to notice at the time that these two civilians had sustained injuries.

1 B1778

2 B1782.005

3 B1781

4 Day 359/119-125

43.27 Lance Corporal 121 recorded in his RMP statement,1 and in his statement for the Widgery Inquiry,2 that he was also present when Duncan Clark and William John Doherty were documented. In his written statement to this Inquiry,3 he told us that he no longer remembered them, which may well be the case.

1 B1758

2 B1761

3 B1764.001

43.28 In a written statement made shortly after Bloody Sunday,1 Colonel Wilford, who had (as we discuss elsewhere in this report2) followed the vehicles of Support Company into the Bogside, recorded that just before seeing Major Loden for the first time at the north end of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats, he had a quick word with an RMP arrest team which had arrived to pick up some arrested civilians. He saw two civilians being placed into the back of a Land Rover. They were both bloodied about the head, but otherwise all right. He told the RMP to ensure that the doctor saw them before they were taken off. However, in his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry,3 Colonel Wilford described this conversation as having taken place at a later stage, when he returned to the area after visiting C Company, by which time he said that the RMP had brought up two Land Rovers.

1 B951

2 Chapter 171

3 WT11.46

43.29 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1 Corporal 126 agreed that the Land Rovers shown in the following photograph were similar to his team’s vehicles. In our view they were the RMP vehicles.

1 Day 359/141

43.30 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1 Colonel Wilford agreed that the figure on the left of this photograph is probably him. This photograph therefore probably shows Colonel Wilford running towards the RMP Land Rovers shortly before his conversation with Corporal 126 and Lance Corporal 121. In his RMP statement,2 Corporal 126 recorded that they had been in the area of the Rossville Flats for about 15 minutes before a Colonel from 1 PARA spoke to them. In these circumstances we consider that Colonel Wilford’s oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry is to be preferred to his written account of meeting the RMP team earlier.

1 Day 321/77 2B1778

43.31 Corporal 126 and Lance Corporal 121 both recorded in their RMP statements,1 and in their statements for the Widgery Inquiry,2 that the Colonel from 1 PARA asked whether they or anyone had been hit by a burst of fire from the flats. However, in his oral evidence to this Inquiry,3 Corporal 126 said that he had no recollection of the conversation about the two civilians described by Colonel Wilford, although he would have called a doctor if he had been told to do so. Neither Duncan Clark nor William John Doherty said anything about receiving medical attention until after reaching Fort George. If Colonel Wilford did give instructions for these civilians to be seen by a doctor before being taken off (which in our view he probably did), for some reason it appears that this was not done.

1 B1778; B1758

2 B1781; B1761

3 Day 359/125-126

43.32 We set out below Duncan Clark’s and William John Doherty’s arrest photographs which were taken at Fort George.

43.33 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry, Sergeant O was disposed to accept that the head wound visible in the photograph of William John Doherty taken at Fort George was the result of the blow that he inflicted.1 For the reasons that we have given above, we are of the view that this was probably the case.

1 Day 335/34

43.34 The same photograph shows a substantial area of discolouration around William John Doherty’s left eye. The photograph also shows what looks like a sticking plaster across the bridge of his nose. Sergeant O told us that William John Doherty was bleeding from the left forehead and face when he saw him at Fort George.1The other and earlier photograph of William John Doherty, which in our view was taken in an RMP Land Rover, does not show the same degree of discolouration around his left eye, but we consider that this was due to the fact that the bruising had not then fully developed.

1 Day 336/142

43.35 According to his NICRA statement,1William John Doherty’s wounds were stitched by an Army doctor at Fort George. Later in this statement he described his injuries, a description which we have no reason to regard as otherwise than reasonably accurate:

“I have been examined by Dr Hegarty of Pump St, Londonderry. My injuries have also been witnessed by John Hume MP. They are severe bruising of the left arm, severe facial bruising down the left side of my face, and lacerations of the bridge of my nose, bruising on my left leg, and cuts to my left upper leg and knee. ”

1 AD113.2

43.36 It was submitted by the representatives of the majority of the represented soldiers that while the arrest photograph of Duncan Clark reveals possibly some bleeding to the right of the nose it shows no other facial injuries demonstrably consistent with him being hit on the head with a rifle butt or having a baton round discharged in his face from close range.1

1 FR7.518

43.37 We do not accept this submission. In our view the photograph does not demonstrate that Duncan Clark was exaggerating or wrong when he recorded in his NICRA statement that his injuries required two stitches in his head and five in his nose from the Army doctor at Fort George. We have no reason to doubt the accuracy of this part of his account.1

1 AC61.1