This snapshot, taken on
17/10/2010
, shows web content acquired for preservation by The National Archives. External links, forms and search may not work in archived websites and contact details are likely to be out of date.
 
 
The UK Government Web Archive does not use cookies but some may be left in your browser from archived websites.

Skip to Content | Accessibility Statement | Site Map

Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry
- Volume V - Chapter 88



The damage to the south end of the eastern block of Glenfada Park North

Chapter 88: The damage to the south end of the eastern block of Glenfada Park North

Contents

Paragraph

Jim Doherty 88.3

George Downey 88.7

Hugh Duffy 88.9

Seamus Fleming 88.12

Brendan Gallagher 88.15

Helen Johnston 88.18

Margaret Johnston 88.21

James Kelly 88.24

Don Mullan 88.29

Robert Breglio 88.32

The evidence of the Inquiry’s scientific experts 88.34

Conclusions 88.36

88.1 Mr Kevin O’Callaghan, the expert on ballistics engaged by this Inquiry, appended to the report that he prepared jointly with the independent expert pathologist Dr Richard Shepherd the following series of photographs,1taken for the purposes of their report. The photographs show the south end of the eastern block of Glenfada Park North (often called the gable end) and an area of damage to the northern edge of the brickwork return at the south-east corner of that block at the level of the second floor windows.

1 F9.1-F9.6

88.2 A number of civilian witnesses gave evidence that appears to relate, or that may relate, to the cause of this damage, which is likely to have occurred on Bloody Sunday.

Jim Doherty

88.3 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 Jim Doherty told us that between five and 15 minutes after the shooting of Damien Donaghey and John Johnston he left the junction of William Street and Rossville Street because CS gas seemed to be coming from Barrier 14. He made his way to Glenfada Park North where he heard a lot of high velocity gunfire. He could not tell from where these shots were coming. He hid for a time behind one of the fences on the eastern side of Glenfada Park North. Then he came out and kept moving between the north-eastern and south-eastern corners of Glenfada Park North and looking out from those positions. From the south-eastern corner he could see soldiers on the City Walls. From the north-eastern corner he could see soldiers running south over the waste ground; and up to five Army vehicles, which pulled up on the waste ground at Pilot Row and Eden Place and in Rossville Street just north of the rubble barricade.

1 AD73.4-AD73.6

88.4 While at the south-eastern corner he saw bullets striking the south end of the eastern block of Glenfada Park North. He knew that bullets were being fired by the way the brickwork was splintering and hitting the side of the gable wall . He made the assumption, or formed the impression, that these bullets had been fired by soldiers on the City Walls. The reason, or one of the reasons, for this assumption was that the bullets hit the brickwork above the height of his head. However, he did not see the soldiers on the walls firing and could not be sure that his assumption was correct. He returned to the garden fence where he hid again with Gerard McKinney. When a young lad came up and said that people were lying dead in front of the rubble barricade, Jim Doherty ran away through the alley leading to Abbey Park.

88.5 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1 Jim Doherty at first tentatively accepted that the splintering brickwork had been in the position shown in the fourth of Mr O’Callaghan’s photographs shown above2 (the south-east corner of the eastern block of Glenfada Park North), but then said that he was unsure whether he had been at the south-east or the south-west corner of Glenfada Park North when he saw it. Later in his evidence,3 he confirmed that he had been at the south end of the eastern block of Glenfada Park North but said that he would not have been able to see the south-east corner of that block. The bullets could have hit anywhere between the top of the wall and 8 feet above his head. There was brickwork splintering all over the place . With some diffidence, he marked a photograph4 to illustrate where he thought the bullets had struck (at the south-west corner of the eastern block of Glenfada Park North).

1 Day 65/78-84

2 Paragraph 88.1

3 Day 65/109-114

4 AD73.9

88.6 Jim Doherty did not claim to have seen how many bullets hit the wall.

George Downey

88.7 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 George Downey told us that after hearing people shouting that the Army was coming into the Bogside, he ran through Columbcille Court and Glenfada Park North and emerged into Rossville Street to the south of the rubble barricade. He saw soldiers and Army vehicles to the north of the barricade. There were 30 to 40 people to the south of the barricade. Some of these people were throwing stones at the soldiers. He then heard a single shot. This was the first shot that he heard after the soldiers had entered Rossville Street. The bullet hit the southern gable wall of Glenfada Park North above the height of his head and chipped off a piece of masonry. George Downey thought that the bullet had been fired from the City Walls. Then many more single high velocity shots were fired from the direction of the soldiers in Rossville Street and people scattered in all directions to take cover. When this shooting subsided, George Downey heard others saying that people had been shot. He then saw three to five men lying still on the barricade, including his brother-in-law Michael Kelly.

1 AD134.3-4

88.8 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1 George Downey said that there had been ten to 15 people, rather than 30 to 40, in the area south of the rubble barricade when he came out into Rossville Street. The shot hit the wall of Glenfada Park North after an incident in which a number of people moved north of the rubble barricade to try to rescue a man who had been arrested on the waste ground. He was not sure whether the shot had hit the south wall or the east wall, or the south-east corner, of the eastern block of Glenfada Park North, but he remembered that it had made a hole at least 5 or 6 inches wide. He thought that the bullet had hit the wall above the level of the balcony. Although he was not sure about this, he believed that it had been fired from the City Walls because the noise came from behind him as he faced north, and because of the height at which the bullet struck the wall. This shot was followed by further high velocity shooting, after which he looked out and saw Michael Kelly being brought in from a position south of the barricade. There was then more shooting before he saw another three bodies behind the barricade. Later in his evidence,2 George Downey said that the shot had hit the wall before the attempt was made to assist the man being arrested on the waste ground. It was a high velocity shot. His attention was drawn3 to the fourth of the six photographs reproduced above4 showing damage to the brickwork at the south-east corner of the eastern block of Glenfada Park North at the level of the top floor window. George Downey said that this was consistent with the height at which he remembered the bullet striking the wall.

1 Day 123/15-39

2 Day 123/63-67

3 Day 123/78-79

4 Paragraph 88.1

Hugh Duffy

88.9 In his interview with Kathleen Keville,1 Hugh Duffy said that he was standing at the side of Columbcille Court with another man when two bullets struck above their heads. Then Alexander Nash arrived. There were two young men lying shot at the rubble barricade. Alexander Nash went out to the two casualties. One of them was his son William. Then Alexander Nash was himself hit in the side.

1 AD156.12; AD156.9

88.10 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 Hugh Duffy told us that although he remembered hearing the two shots fired and seeing Alexander Nash go out to the two casualties, he was now unclear about the order in which these events occurred. The two shots were fired when he was standing very close to the wall at the south end of the eastern block of Glenfada Park North. He thought that other shooting had been taking place at the time, but these two shots were very clear. As they rang out, small flakes of red brick dust fell from the wall above him. He did not know whether both shots had hit the wall, but when he looked up he saw a large chip in the brickwork, probably 20 to 30 feet above him, almost level with the second floor balconies . Someone had said that the shots must have come from the City Walls. Hugh Duffy had thought that this was so, as the shots could not have come from anywhere else . He had looked up towards the City Walls but had not seen anyone there, nor had he seen any soldiers anywhere else. Hugh Duffy attached to his statement a marked photograph2 indicating that the site of the bullet damage was at the south-east corner of the eastern block of Glenfada Park North approximately level with the top of the first floor windows.

1 AD156.2-4

2 AD156.6

88.11 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1 Hugh Duffy agreed that the bullet damage might have been higher up the wall than this, in the position shown in the fourth of Mr O’Callaghan’s photographs reproduced above.2 He confirmed that he was not now sure whether the two shots had been fired before or after Alexander Nash went out to the rubble barricade.3

1 Day 150/83-86

2 Paragraph 88.1

3 Day 150/88

Seamus Fleming

88.12 In his Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) statement,1 Seamus Fleming recorded that he was in Columbcille Court when he heard that the soldiers were coming into the Bogside. He started to run but fell and sprained his ankle. Two men pulled him up. He reached the entry to Glenfada Park . There were about 20 young men sheltering behind the rubble barricade. Some of them rose and ran towards the entrance where he was standing. As they were running, Seamus Fleming heard gunfire. He could see soldiers everywhere and three Army vehicles. There were about six men left at the barricade. During a lull in the shooting, these men rose to run towards the entrance. There was a burst of fire. A lad wearing a blue half-jerkin clutched his stomach and slumped on top of the barricade. Another lad wearing a brown coat slumped over, holding his left side. Neither of these lads moved. A man beside Seamus Fleming tried to go to their assistance, but there was another burst of gunfire and a bullet struck the wall above Seamus Fleming and this other man. A piece of red brick fell to the ground beside where the other man was standing. Seamus Fleming then ran away through Lisfannon Park.

1 AF22.11

88.13 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 Seamus Fleming gave a generally similar account. He stated that he spent about ten to 15 minutes standing at the point marked “X” in square I15 on the plan attached to his statement2 (near the south-east end of the fences on the north-east side of the north-eastern block of Glenfada Park South). After the man tried to edge out to help the two casualties on the rubble barricade, there was a burst of fire and one or more shots hit the corner of the red brick parapet above Seamus Fleming, showering him and others with chippings from the wall. According to this account, Seamus Fleming thought that this shooting must have come from the direction of Joseph Place or the City Walls because the south wall of the eastern block of Glenfada Park North would have shielded the wall above him from firing by soldiers on the waste ground.

1 AF22.2-5

2 AF22.12

88.14 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1 Seamus Fleming was asked whether at any stage he had moved from the south to the north side of the south-eastern entrance to Glenfada Park North, and he said that he could not really remember. He said that the amount of debris that fell from the wall made him think that only one shot had hit it.2 His view that the shot must have been fired from the direction of the City Walls was reached only after the event. Seamus Fleming then marked a photograph3 (reproduced below) to indicate the site of the bullet damage as being at the south-east corner of the eastern block of Glenfada Park North, and said that by the time the shot was fired he had moved forward to a position at the south end of that block. He nevertheless remained of the view that the shot could not have been fired from Rossville Street.4

1 Day 146/53-54

2 Day 146/62-65

3 AF22.13

4 Day 146/77

Brendan Gallagher

88.15 In his NICRA statement,1 Brendan Gallagher recorded that he was in Rossville Street Barricade when five Army vehicles were driven into Rossville Street. A few young boys were going to throw stones at them when the soldiers opened fire. Brendan Gallagher ran towards Glenfada Park. As he arrived there, a bullet hit the wall beside him and knocked out a big lump. He ran into a back garden with eight others. They had to break into a house because bullets were flying around them. They spent 20 minutes lying in the house. The shooting continued for about half that time.

1 AG4.1

88.16 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 Brendan Gallagher told us that he was standing at the point marked “A” on the plan attached to his statement2 (in the middle of Rossville Street just south of the junction with Fahan Street West). According to this account, he heard shots and saw two Army vehicles parked further north in Rossville Street. Soldiers were kneeling beside the vehicles and firing into the crowd. A few lads at the rubble barricade were throwing stones but nothing else. Brendan Gallagher stood in shock for a moment and then walked towards the vehicles. He thought that he had wanted to see what was going on. He then took cover at the north-east end of the south-eastern block of Glenfada Park South. As he did so, he saw a bullet take a chunk out of a wall nearby, but he could not remember which wall this was. He also saw a man standing near him on the footpath fall. The man had been shot and was obviously dead. Brendan Gallagher considered that this man had been shot from the City Walls because of the angle that he was shot at , but could remember no further details. He and others then ran into Glenfada Park North and broke into a flat in the eastern block. From a window overlooking Rossville Street, he could see people running and panicking. A few lads at the barricade were still throwing stones. He thought that he had then seen Hugh Gilmour shot at the entrance to Block 1 of the Rossville Flats. He also seemed to remember seeing another lad on the ground near the barricade. He remained in the flat for 15 to 20 minutes until the shooting had stopped. He no longer remembered seeing four people shot at the barricade. He vaguely recalled seeing bodies on the barricade but had no idea whether they were alive or dead.

1 AG4.2-3

2 AG4.7

88.17 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1 Brendan Gallagher was not asked about the shot that hit a wall when he was taking cover at the north-east end of the south-eastern block of Glenfada Park South.

1 Day 147/195-214

Helen Johnston

88.18 In her NICRA statement made jointly with her sister Margaret Johnston,1 Helen Johnston recorded that the two of them had crossed Rossville Street to Glenfada Park when they heard Army vehicles coming in. They heard gunfire and moved back . Then they moved to a small alley way where some other people had gathered. From here they could see three men lying on top of one another at a barricade. Immediately beside these men an elderly man was on his back. The elderly man appeared to be alive because his arms were moving, but Helen Johnston was told that the other three men were dead. Then chippings came off a wall near where the two sisters were standing as bullets struck it. Helen Johnston and Margaret Johnston moved to the next alleyway where they found Fr Denis Bradley and others. The firing continued. On the opposite side of the road, two boys were crawling towards the entrance to the Rossville Flats. The first boy reached the entrance, but the second appeared to be shot and had to be pulled in through the doorway.

1 AJ11.1

88.19 In her written statement to this Inquiry,1 Helen Johnston told us that she believed that when the Army came into Rossville Street she had entered Glenfada Park North at its north-east corner; and, although she could not be sure of this, that she had continued past the south end of the eastern block of Glenfada Park North to the area of the eastern entrance to Glenfada Park South. She believed that it was from there that she had seen the three young men and the older man on the rubble barricade. She now knew that the older man had been Alexander Nash. She also believed that she had been in that area when chippings flew off the wall above her head. However, she remembered that she and her sister had been between two walls close together and that the chippings had been flying from a wall opposite us , which she said could have been the wall at the south end of the eastern block of Glenfada Park North. Helen Johnston identified herself and her sister in photographs taken by Liam Mailey and Ciaran Donnelly, all of which show people in the area of the south end of the eastern block of Glenfada Park North after the body of Michael Kelly had been brought in from Rossville Street. Nevertheless she did not think that this was where she had been when she saw the casualties at the rubble barricade, because her recollection was of a walkway with walls on either side and of a much narrower area with a pram ramp .

1 AJ11.2-6

88.20 In her oral evidence to this Inquiry,1 Helen Johnston said that she could not remember where she had been when the chippings flew off the wall, but that it had been a small enclosed area with only enough room for two people to stand shoulder to shoulder.

1 Day 228/45-48

Margaret Johnston

88.21 The account given in the NICRA statement made jointly by Margaret Johnston and her sister Helen Johnston1 is summarised above.

1 AJ13.1

88.22 In her written statement to this Inquiry,1 Margaret Johnston told us that she was not certain where she and her sister had taken cover when the Army had entered Rossville Street. She was sure that they had moved around a bit in the network of alleyways . While taking cover she had seen brick chippings coming off a wall to her side, but she could not say where exactly she had been when this happened, or which wall had been chipped by bullets.

1 AJ13.2-3

88.23 In her oral evidence to this Inquiry,1 Margaret Johnston told us that she believed that when the chippings came off the wall she and her sister had been in a ramp-type alleyway with a sloping wall. Although she said that it was on the William Street side of the rubble barricade, she also said that you could look directly across at the doors of the High Flats .

1 Day 228/80-87

James Kelly

88.24 In his NICRA statement,1 James Kelly did not refer to bullets hitting the south end of the eastern block of Glenfada Park North.

1 AK12.1

88.25 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 James Kelly told us that he was at the south end of the eastern block of Glenfada Park North at a time when a group of people had gathered around the body of Michael Kelly after he had been shot. James Kelly said that the body was lying at the point marked “D” on the plan attached to his statement2 (in Rossville Street near the south-east corner of the eastern block of Glenfada Park North); but he also said that it was lying in the position shown in two photographs appended to his written statement.3 These show the group around the body after it had been brought into the entrance to Glenfada Park North. James Kelly said that during this time he had noticed bullets hitting the wall above him. Someone had said that shots were being fired from the City Walls. Quite a few of the group around James Kelly thought that this might be so. James Kelly looked up towards the City Walls but saw nothing.

1 AK12.3-AK12.4

2 AK12.34

3 AK12.20; AK12.22

88.26 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1 James Kelly said that he thought that he had first seen the body of Michael Kelly while it was still in Rossville Street. He vaguely recalled that the body had then been lifted and carried, but he could not remember in which direction. He said that he believed that bullets had struck the wall above him, because dust or little pieces of stone had fallen from it. Later in his evidence,2 James Kelly accepted that it was possible that he first saw Michael Kelly’s body only after it had been brought in from Rossville Street. James Kelly said3 that the bullets struck the wall in an area that he marked on a photograph with an arrow.4

1 Day 145/25-29

2 Day 145/54-55

3 Day 145/47

4 AK12.39

88.27 However, James Kelly agreed1 that the dust and debris that fell into the area where he was standing could have resulted from a bullet or bullets hitting the corner of the block in the area where damage is shown in Mr O’Callaghan’s photographs.2

1 Day 145/75-77

2 F9.4-F9.6

88.28 There is no other evidence indicating that a bullet struck the gable end wall as James Kelly had described. In our view he was describing, as he accepted could have been the case, the damage to the corner of the gable end.

Don Mullan

88.29 In his NICRA statement,1 Don Mullan recorded that after the soldiers entered the Bogside he began to run with the rest of the crowd down Rossville Street. Suddenly there was an outbreak of shooting. As he ran past the rubble barricade he saw a boy fall. Men ran from behind a wall at the maisonettes to help the boy but had to dive for cover because the soldiers fired at them. Bullets struck a wall above Don Mullan’s head. He and others ran behind the maisonettes , by which we understand him to mean into Glenfada Park.

1 AM448.12

88.30 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 Don Mullan told us that he had been standing close to Michael Kelly, and ducked instinctively when Michael Kelly was shot. In the next few seconds there was a huge quantity of gunfire. According to this account, Don Mullan believed that this gunfire came from the direction of the soldiers at Kells Walk and that it was aimed at the rubble barricade, off which he could see bullets spitting . For several moments it appeared that people at the barricade did not know what to do. Don Mullan may have moved to help Michael Kelly. At some stage Don Mullan stood up. Two men pushed past him as they ran out from Glenfada Park to try to rescue casualties at the barricade. Don Mullan did not know whether the two men reached the casualties, but he said that they had to retreat because of the high concentration of shooting. Don Mullan then heard another burst of fire. The bricks and mortar in the wall above his head seemed to explode like a fire cracker . What he had seen was bullets striking the south-east corner of the eastern block of Glenfada Park North. Immediately after these shots hit the wall, he ran away.

1 AM448.5-6

88.31 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1 Don Mullan said that he thought that after Michael Kelly had been shot there had been a brief interval, after which perhaps ten to 12 shots had been fired down Rossville Street. Although the two men who pushed past him had obviously been going to help someone, Don Mullan did not himself see anyone other than Michael Kelly fall. He said that it had been his impression that the two men were trying to reach people other than Michael Kelly who had fallen at the barricade.2 He could not say whether the corner of the eastern block of Glenfada Park North had been struck by one bullet or more than one. He confirmed that the damage that he saw was the damage shown in Mr O’Callaghan’s photographs.3 Don Mullan said that his belief at the time had been that the shot or shots that hit the wall had been fired from the north.4

1 Day 148/114-117

2 Day 148/126-129

3 Paragraph 88.1

4 Day 148/154-156

Robert Breglio

88.32 In a report dated 14th March 1997, Robert Breglio, a ballistics expert who had been consulted by Don Mullan and the Bloody Sunday Justice Campaign, gave the following opinion:

On Sunday, January 26, 1997, I visited the area of Rossville Street and Glenfada Park and examined some impact marks on a building at the corner of Rossville Street and [sic] bears a sign named Glenfada Park. Mr Mullan stated to me that he had seen these impact marks made by being struck by bullets on the day of Bloody Sunday, 30 January 1972.

These impact marks are confined in a tight pattern to only three bricks in the entire column of brick work. The impact marks are high up on the building and approximately the 22nd, 23rd and 24th brick down from the top of the column. The bricks have been impacted at the right edge of each individual brick.

In my professional opinion, these impact marks on the bricks were made by being struck by high velocity projectiles that were fired from a high powered weapon.

The trajectory of these projectiles is incoming from east to west and probably a west north west direction.

I will conclude that in my professional opinion these projectiles were fired from a position located up in the area of the Derry Walls.

88.33 Robert Breglio did not give evidence to this Inquiry.

The evidence of the Inquiry’s scientific experts

88.34 In their report,1Dr Shepherd and Mr O’Callaghan set out their opinion about the damage to the brickwork at the south-east corner of the eastern block of Glenfada Park North:

If the damage was caused in 1972, as was indicated to Mr. Breglio, weathering over the subsequent twenty-seven years will almost certainly have caused the weakened brick to deteriorate further, so any interpretation of the damage must be made with caution.

The photographs taken for this report … clearly show a continuous curved edge to the margin of the damage which involves four bricks and not three. The continuous margin indicates that, at least, the major part of the damage was caused by a single event which was sufficiently forceful to damage all four bricks: such as a bullet strike.

If the damage was caused by a bullet, the bullet is likely to have travelled from right to left as one faces the gable end of Glenfada Park, striking the right edge of the column of bricks as viewed from Rossville street. In other words from the direction of Kells Walk and not from the direction of the City Walls.

1 E2.66-7

88.35 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1Mr O’Callaghan confirmed that although he could not be absolutely certain that the damage seen in the photographs had been caused by a bullet, he thought that it must have resulted from a single, fairly forceful event . The damage to four bricks was consistent with the impact of a single bullet because a shock wave would have passed through the brickwork adjacent to the actual point of contact.

1 Day 230/46-48

Conclusions

88.36 The civilian evidence considered above is confused and conflicting. As we have observed in other contexts, we do not find this surprising, since people were trying to recall what happened, and the order in which things happened, in the course of fast-moving and horrific events. However, we have no doubt that a bullet did hit the south-east corner of the eastern block of Glenfada Park North on Bloody Sunday.

88.37 In the light of the photographic evidence and that of the experts retained by this Inquiry, we are of the view that only one bullet hit that corner; and that this bullet was fired from the north, ie from further along Rossville Street. We do not accept the views expressed by Robert Breglio, since in our view there was no firing from the City Walls directed into the area of Sector 3, or indeed into any of the other sectors. We discuss the question of firing from the City Walls elsewhere in this report.1

1 Chapter 167

88.38 More difficult is the question of when the shot that hit the corner of the gable end was fired. The civilian evidence ranges from an early stage to about the time that Alexander Nash was wounded.

88.39 As we have explained earlier in this report,1there is evidence that before Anti-Tank Platoon soldiers reached the low walls of the Kells Walk ramp, Corporal P of Mortar Platoon fired two shots which he, in our view falsely, claimed were directed at a nail bomber. One of these shots could account for the damage to the corner, if it occurred at that stage.

1 Chapter 73

88.40 As we have also explained earlier in this report,1Corporal P claimed that he had fired three shots over what he described, again in our view falsely, as a hostile crowd moving forward after he had advanced south along Rossville Street. If indeed he did fire a shot or shots at above head height at this stage, one of those shots could account for the damage to the corner, if that damage occurred at a later stage.

1 Paragraphs 85.2–28

88.41 There is no evidence from any other soldier of firing that could explain the damage to the corner of the south end of the eastern block of Glenfada Park North. In our view it is probable that Corporal P was responsible for this shot, whenever it was fired.