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Full Hearings

Hearing: 6th January 2009, day 95

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ROSEMARY NELSON

PUBLIC INQUIRY

 

 

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held at:
The Interpoint Centre
20-24 York Street
Belfast BT15 1AQ


on Tuesday, 6 January 2009
commencing at 2.00 pm


Day 95

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

1 Tuesday, 6 January 2009

2 (2.00 pm)

3 THE CHAIRMAN: A happy new year to everyone.

4 Mr Currans, may we go through the checklist with

5 you, please, before the witness comes in.

6 Is the public area screen fully in place, locked and

7 the key secured?

8 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

9 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the fire doors on either side of the

10 screen closed?

11 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

12 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the technical support screens in place

13 and securely fastened?

14 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

15 THE CHAIRMAN: Is anyone other than Inquiry personnel and

16 Participants' legal representatives seated in the body

17 of this chamber?

18 MR CURRANS: No, sir.

19 THE CHAIRMAN: Would the video engineer please confirm that

20 the two witness cameras have been switched off and

21 shrouded?

22 THE VIDEO ENGINEER: Yes, sir, they have.

23 THE CHAIRMAN: All the other cameras have been switched off?

24 THE VIDEO ENGINEER: Yes, sir, they have.

25 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

 

 

2

 

1 Bring the witness in, please.

2 The cameras on the Panel, Inquiry personnel and the

3 Full Participants' legal representatives may now be

4 switched back on.

5 Would you please take the oath.

6 A645 (sworn)

7 Questions by MR SAVILL

8 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Please sit down.

9 Yes, Mr Savill?

10 MR SAVILL: Thank you, sir.

11 Before I again, can I just state the obvious, that

12 we won't be using your name. You have in front of you,

13 I hope, a cipher list?

14 A. I have.

15 Q. And there are some names on there which obviously aren't

16 to be spoken out loud, and if you are thinking of

17 mentioning anybody's name, please give thought to the

18 cipher list, as to whether or not you should mention the

19 name or use the cipher?

20 A. Yes, I will.

21 Q. Thank you. It is right, I think, that you gave

22 a statement to the Inquiry. Could we call that up?

23 RNI-840-172 (displayed). We can see the first pages of

24 it. And at RNI-840-186 (displayed), we can see your

25 cipher and the date of 15 December 2007. Yes?

 

 

3

 

1 A. Yes, that's correct.

2 Q. Thank you very much. Now, could we go back to the first

3 page of your statement, please?

4 Could you tell me, by 1999, how long had you been

5 serving in Northern Ireland in the Ulster Defence

6 Regiment, which then became the Royal Irish Regiment?

7 A. I joined in 1983 and I served from 1983 to 1989.

8 Q. So 16 years?

9 A. 16 years, sir.

10 Q. And the rank you had attained in 1999 was corporal, I

11 think?

12 A. It was. It was corporal.

13 Q. And as far as your actual role and geographical location

14 in March 1999, what was that, please?

15 A. I was employed as a section commander in the F Company

16 in 3 Royal Irish on Mahon Road.

17 Q. Where was that?

18 A. In Portadown.

19 Q. Portadown, yes.

20 Now, what sort of number of men did you have

21 underneath you as a section commander? Can you tell us

22 that?

23 A. Well, you had eight men, two teams, four in each team.

24 A corporal was in charge of one team, a lance corporal

25 was in charge of another team.

 

 

4

 

1 Q. So there was a good degree of responsibility?

2 A. There was, sir.

3 Q. I think I'm also right in saying that you had a slightly

4 more specialist role, namely that of a liaison officer,

5 abbreviated to "LO", I think?

6 A. It was. I was employed also as a liaison officer with

7 helicopters.

8 Q. Thank you. I just wanted to be clear at this early

9 stage, when you say you were a liaison officer, your

10 first and foremost role was that of an infantryman?

11 A. It was, sir.

12 Q. And being a liaison officer was something that perhaps

13 occupied only a small proportion of your time?

14 A. It was.

15 Q. Is that accurate?

16 A. That is totally accurate, sir.

17 Q. So just to assist us with a flavour of it -- a guess,

18 maybe, on your part -- what percentage of your time was

19 actually taken up as being a liaison officer?

20 A. If I was on duty, it could have taken -- if -- over

21 a 24-hour period, it could have taken two hours, three

22 hours up.

23 Q. And, again, I'm putting words in your mouth to an

24 extent, but would that be every day or would there be

25 weeks on end where you wouldn't see the inside of a

 

 

5

 

1 helicopter?

2 A. Everyday you were on duty you would see the inside of a

3 helicopter because helicopter flights were every day.

4 Q. Would you be involved in them every day?

5 A. Off duty I would not be involved.

6 Q. You are absolutely right. We are talking about when you

7 were on duty, but you would be in a helicopter most

8 days?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. But only for a small proportion of that day?

11 A. A small proportion of time would be taken up as an LO.

12 it could be from six o'clock in the morning, half six,

13 23.00 hours to half past, 23.30 hours. It took up

14 a small proportion of your time.

15 Q. Yes. And does one volunteer to be an LO? Are you

16 approached? What is the selection process?

17 A. An LO, sir, is basically someone that knows -- has

18 a good knowledge of the ground to air and the space he

19 is working in and can go into a map and look at the map

20 and dictate what part of the ground he is over with the

21 map.

22 Q. So you almost select yourself?

23 A. Well, it is a selection process that people will pick

24 you up because they know you can read a map and do a

25 job.

 

 

6

 

1 Q. That's what I mean: you would qualify yourself by being

2 knowledgeable?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. But you would have to be above the rank of corporal, or

5 corporal or above, wouldn't you?

6 A. Yes, you do.

7 Q. Why was that?

8 A. Because you are dealing with sergeants and upwards on

9 Gazelles. And as a corporal, just a corporal --

10 a corporal is basically a corporal in the British Army.

11 A sergeant has more --

12 Q. A bit more oomph?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. A bit more weight?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Yes. Rather than just a private who --

17 A. Well, if you can imagine you're a sergeant and a lance

18 corporal's sitting on a helicopter and telling you what

19 to do in a helicopter, you would not be amused.

20 Q. I'm sure we can all understand that point, thank you.

21 When you weren't being a liaison officer, you were,

22 I think, a member of the QRF, which stands for the Quick

23 Reaction Force?

24 A. I was, sir.

25 Q. I don't want too much detail because I think it probably

 

 

7

 

1 speaks for itself, but what was the QRF?

2 A. QRF operated within a territory of responsibility within

3 an area, and any incidents that went down the QRF was

4 deployed to that incident as first hand.

5 Q. Could we just call up page RNI-840-173 (displayed) and

6 highlight the first paragraph? We can see here that

7 around the time of Rosemary Nelson's murder, your

8 day-to-day operational duties would have typically

9 included providing security to the base, patrolling

10 around Portadown or Banbridge and acting as a member of

11 the QRF?

12 A. Yes, that's correct.

13 Q. And we could probably attach on the end of that: acting

14 as an LO?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Yes?

17 A. Yes, sir.

18 Q. I'm not going to read the whole paragraph, but we can

19 look at the third line from the bottom where you say:

20 "Typically, I would be on duty for 18 to 27-hour

21 shifts followed by 12 hours of rest. The shift pattern

22 would change every three weeks though."

23 A. Yes, sir, that's correct.

24 Q. Thank you. What I wanted to ask you was how much

25 advance notice did you receive at that time of where and

 

 

8

 

1 when you were going to be working?

2 A. You don't.

3 Q. Or you didn't?

4 A. You don't. You go on duty.

5 Q. You would be working from the same places, wouldn't you?

6 A. Yes, you would work in Mahon Road camp, where you go in

7 that day and would get your duties for the next

8 24 hours.

9 Q. So if we wind the clock back, you are sitting there -- I

10 don't know -- in January 1999 and I say to you, "What

11 are you doing next week or the week after?" You would

12 say, "I'm going to be at Mahon Road, but as to where

13 precisely I will be, who I will be with, whether I will

14 be on a helicopter or not, I can't tell you"?

15 A. Basically sir, to enlighten you on the subject, you

16 didn't know from minute to minute where you were going

17 to be, to be honest.

18 Q. So never mind a week or two in advance, the night

19 before --

20 A. You couldn't tell from one minute of the day to the

21 other. You could be sitting some place one minute of

22 the day and sitting some place the other minute of

23 the day.

24 Q. Thank you. But presumably there would have been more

25 senior officers who, one would hope, at least, had

 

 

9

 

1 a plan as to who was going to be going where?

2 A. Yes, sir, that was the operations room that had the

3 plan. They give it to you on the morning you went on

4 duty.

5 Q. Yes, but I'm talking about a more forward-thinking plan?

6 A. Yes, there would have been senior officers, but the

7 companies would not have been privy to that. That would

8 have been the ops officer.

9 Q. Thank you. I'm going to ask you now about that, the

10 operations room. What role did that play in your

11 day-to-day life?

12 A. The operations room, sir, was your tasking for the

13 24-hour period that you were on duty. They monitored

14 you and tasked you with any jobs or tasks that you had

15 to do. If there was any suspect devices come in, you

16 were tasked by the ops room.

17 Q. So you were tasked by them when you came on duty?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And whilst on duty?

20 A. Whilst on duty.

21 Q. And when you say you were tasked by them, who actually

22 in person would speak to whom?

23 A. In the morning you come on duty, the platoon commander,

24 which could have been a lieutenant or a colour sergeant,

25 he would have went to the ops room and got a brief of

 

 

10

 

1 what he was to do for the next 24-hour period, and then

2 he come back and briefed the troops, myself included,

3 what we were doing for the next 24-hour period.

4 Q. Yes.

5 A. Then that was it, we done what we had to do.

6 Q. And what role did the operations room play in

7 instructing an LO? Any?

8 A. They did. You went over and if there was any incidents

9 that were ongoing, you went into the ops room and got

10 a brief off the duty watch-keeper who was in charge of

11 the ops room. He briefed you what was going on, what

12 time it happened and what you were expected to do in the

13 aircraft.

14 Q. But what would cause you to actually walk in to the

15 operations room? A telephone call?

16 A. I would be called or paged.

17 Q. By whom?

18 A. By the ops room.

19 Q. And that could be anything from major public disorder to

20 a hoax device?

21 A. Yes, sir. It could be anything at all.

22 Q. That would cause a helicopter to go up?

23 A. If the police warranted the need for a chopper, they

24 asked for a chopper, we were sent up with an LO on

25 board.

 

 

11

 

1 Q. Is it right that the intelligence cell was next door to

2 the operations room at Mahon Road? Can you remember?

3 A. No, sir. I gather the intelligence room was upstairs.

4 Q. And when you say "upstairs" -- I'm sorry to be picky --

5 do you mean the next floor up?

6 A. Yes, level 2.

7 Q. And the operations room was on level 1?

8 A. It was.

9 Q. Thank you. What can you tell us about the intelligence

10 cell? What was the difference between that and the

11 operations room?

12 A. The ops room was the day-to-day operations, tasking of

13 patrols, QRFs, patrols on the ground, helicopter

14 operations. The intelligence cell was to process data.

15 Q. And in reality, I think I'm right in saying, it did not

16 therefore, by definition, run things on a day-to-day

17 basis?

18 A. No, sir. Well, the intelligence cell does -- if it asks

19 for patrols to be put some place to monitor people,

20 that's what it does.

21 Q. Now, we have heard some evidence that there would be

22 a morning briefing given to troops going on patrol by

23 the intelligence cell. Would that be right?

24 A. Some mornings you received a brief, some mornings you

25 didn't. It depends what happened in the last 24-hour

 

 

12

 

1 period.

2 Q. So there could be, but if things were perhaps quiet, if

3 I can use that expression, there may be no need for it?

4 A. No briefing if things were quiet.

5 Q. But you yourself had been subjected to such a briefing?

6 A. It depends. Could you ask the question again, please?

7 Q. Certainly. Just to be clear, you personally had been,

8 in the past, present when a briefing has been delivered

9 by a member of the intelligence cell?

10 A. I have, yes.

11 Q. Yes. And that's at Mahon Road?

12 A. It is, sir.

13 Q. Now, these briefs were important presumably because you

14 may not have been on duty when something had happened

15 and you needed to be brought up to speed as to what was

16 going on?

17 A. Yes, sir.

18 Q. Is that fair?

19 A. It is, yes.

20 Q. But I think I'm also right in saying that you told us in

21 your statement -- I won't take you to it -- that you had

22 a very good knowledge simply by operating day-to-day in

23 the area of what was going on?

24 A. Yes, sir, you do. You do get -- because -- you get

25 a knowledge of what is happening in the area and what is

 

 

13

 

1 going on in the area.

2 Q. And would I be right in saying that you were never privy

3 to or told about specific items of intelligence at

4 briefings?

5 A. No, sir.

6 Q. And if we could call up RNI-840-177, please (displayed)?

7 Thank you very much. Can we highlight the top

8 paragraph? We can count four lines down:

9 "We were not told any items of specific intelligence

10 at these briefings. The content of our briefings were

11 general to what was going on in the area. In any event,

12 I would not be privy to any items of specific

13 intelligence. If there were any items of specific

14 intelligence concerning the area, all I would be told

15 was a certain area needed to be patrolled or there was

16 a certain task that needed to be undertaken as part of

17 the QRF. We might be told to look at for suspects, but

18 as far as I can remember, there was no photographs of

19 suspects in the operations room, nor were there any

20 photographs in the briefing room."

21 A. Sir.

22 Q. Is that currently your recollection, that there were no

23 photographs?

24 A. I can't remember, sir, to be honest. It is that long

25 back.

 

 

14

 

1 Q. So to use, I suspect, the favourite tactic of a lawyer,

2 let me just be clear: you are not saying there weren't,

3 you are saying there may have been, but you can't

4 remember?

5 A. I can't remember, sir, to be honest.

6 Q. Now, what about out of bounds areas in these briefings?

7 Were you told about those?

8 A. Yes, sir. You would have been briefed on out of bounds

9 areas, but you would not have been briefed to the privy

10 of what was going on in the area.

11 Q. So who would tell you? This is the intelligence cell,

12 is it, or your commanding officer or ...?

13 A. No, sir, the ops room would have briefed you.

14 Q. So briefings are coming from the operations room on

15 a daily basis?

16 A. Sir.

17 Q. Intelligence cell ad hoc, as and when required?

18 A. Sir.

19 Q. And you would be actually briefed by someone from the

20 operations room?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. And they would say, "The following area is out of bounds

23 for the following period", would they?

24 A. They would, sir, yes.

25 Q. And they wouldn't tell you why?

 

 

15

 

1 A. No.

2 Q. And nobody obviously would ask?

3 A. Nobody asked any questions.

4 Q. However great the temptation, no doubt, may have been.

5 I'm right in saying, I think, that there were not only

6 out of bounds areas along the ground, but there were

7 also vertical out of bounds areas that encompassed the

8 travel of helicopters and aircraft?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. And you were told about those at the same time as well?

11 A. Yes, you were briefed on all the out of bounds.

12 Q. Could we call up on the screen, please, paragraph 20,

13 which is RNI-840-179 (displayed)? Can we just highlight

14 that top paragraph and count four lines down? You would

15 have red boxes in particular areas from time to time and

16 these varied. So that's what an out of bounds area was

17 marked as?

18 A. It is, sir, yes.

19 Q. Just help me if you can because obviously I am ignorant

20 of all this. Was there a map on the wall somewhere that

21 changed as and when the out of bounds areas were

22 pencilled on it?

23 A. It was in the operations room, the ops room, up on

24 the wall.

25 Q. But you weren't briefed in the operations room?

 

 

16

 

1 A. You were, yes.

2 Q. Oh, you were?

3 A. On the morning of your patrol you were briefed in the

4 operations room and you took down the out of bounds

5 areas what you were allowed into.

6 Q. Because presumably you had your own maps to make

7 a note on?

8 A. You did, yes.

9 Q. So that was there in plain view for anyone to see who

10 was in the operations room?

11 A. Yes, if you gained access to the operations room,

12 certainly.

13 Q. Certainly, if you had the authority to be in there. And

14 it was up to the operations room personnel to mark it

15 up, presumably?

16 A. Yes, it was done every morning and every night.

17 Q. Do you know how members of the police were told about

18 out of bounds areas or is that something you don't know?

19 A. I honestly couldn't answer that question, sir, because I

20 don't know.

21 Q. Now, let me ask you were you ever in the position that

22 you were not told before you went on duty about an out

23 of bounds area, but either whilst you were on duty or

24 subsequently you discovered one?

25 A. No, sir.

 

 

17

 

1 Q. Now, in these briefings, whether they be in the

2 operations room or the intelligence cell or delivered by

3 the lieutenant, was there any discussion ever of

4 suspected terrorists or, indeed, their associates?

5 A. Could you elaborate on the question more, sir?

6 Q. Certainly. Were terrorists or suspected terrorists ever

7 mentioned by name to you in any briefing?

8 A. If you were receiving intelligence briefs, sir, you

9 would have been told about suspects.

10 Q. "John Smith is up to this or that"?

11 A. Yes, sir.

12 Q. "Joe Brown is travelling at the moment in company with

13 so and so"?

14 A. Yes, sir, you would have.

15 Q. That type of thing, yes?

16 A. Yes, you would have, sir.

17 Q. And presumably you would have a repetition over time of

18 identical names?

19 A. Yes, it depends who was travelling in the area,

20 who was stopped and who was of intelligence

21 interest.

22 Q. What I'm saying is that the same names would come up

23 time and time again?

24 A. Yes, sir, they would.

25 Q. Were categories, if you understand what I mean, ever

 

 

18

 

1 mentioned in these briefings? So convicted terrorists,

2 suspected terrorists, associates, lawyers who worked for

3 terrorists. Was it ever broken down in that way?

4 A. No, sir, they weren't called terrorists.

5 Q. What were they called?

6 A. They were called suspects.

7 Q. And to complete the answer, were associates --

8 A. No, nothing was broken down into a category.

9 Q. No. Thank you. And to ask you directly, was

10 Rosemary Nelson ever mentioned in any of these

11 briefings, as far as you can recollect?

12 A. Never to me, sir, because I only went up there in 1997.

13 Q. I'm sorry, can you just expand on that?

14 A. I hadn't arrived at that location long to get a full

15 brief of the area.

16 Q. Yes, but in these day-to-day briefings from the

17 operations room --

18 A. No, sir.

19 Q. -- or the now and then briefings from the intelligence

20 cell, was her name ever mentioned?

21 A. No, not to me.

22 Q. Was Colin Duffy's name one that you were told to keep an

23 eye on or look out for?

24 A. Yes, I was, sir.

25 Q. As a suspect?

 

 

19

 

1 A. As a suspect, sir.

2 Q. And was there any mention of her, Rosemary Nelson, in

3 association with Mr Duffy?

4 A. No, sir.

5 Q. You are saying, "I can definitively state that that was

6 not mentioned"?

7 A. I have never received that mentioned to me, sir.

8 Q. No. Now, moving to a slightly different subject, the

9 Royal Ulster Constabulary. You had a working

10 relationship with them?

11 A. Yes, sir.

12 Q. How would you describe the relationship with them in

13 terms of the different roles you undertook?

14 A. We had a very, very good relation -- working

15 relationship, sir, with the police in Lurgan, Portadown

16 and all over.

17 Q. Now, you would be involved in stopping vehicles, I

18 think?

19 A. Yes, day-to-day.

20 Q. And I think I'm right in saying that RUC officers would

21 be present with you?

22 A. Yes, they would be.

23 Q. Was that a requirement, if you like?

24 A. Well, it was a requirement because no patrol went out

25 without an RUC officer with them.

 

 

20

 

1 Q. Sorry, no one --

2 A. No patrols went out without RUC officers with them.

3 Q. Why was that?

4 A. Because it was just a policy that was laid down.

5 Q. And I think I'm right in saying that you yourself had

6 a particular trick of the trade, if I can call it that,

7 to determine which vehicles sometimes were stopped?

8 A. Yes, sir.

9 Q. What was that?

10 A. It was the colour car day.

11 Q. The?

12 A. The colour of the car.

13 Q. Did you say "day"?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. So it would be a blue car day, a red car day, a silver

16 car day?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. That wasn't always the case?

19 A. With myself, sir, yes.

20 Q. It was for you. In your statement, I think perhaps --

21 certainly surprisingly to me -- you mention a figure of

22 how many cars might be stopped a week and I think you

23 say up to 1,000 and 2,000 cars a week?

24 A. Yes, sir. It was quite possible to stop 2,000 cars and

25 chat to those people.

 

 

21

 

1 Q. At these vehicle checkpoints, you were operating with

2 members of your section?

3 A. Yes, sir.

4 Q. With an RUC officer?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Sometimes a spotter for the military police?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Anybody else?

9 A. No.

10 Q. No. And at these checkpoints, were you ever aware

11 that -- if I can call it this -- favouritism was

12 operated by anyone at the checkpoint? By that, I mean,

13 "Don't worry about stopping him or her, let them

14 through"?

15 A. I can categorically say no, sir.

16 Q. You never experienced that?

17 A. If I had have experienced it, I would have stopped it

18 straight away.

19 Q. And presumably also you would say that you never heard

20 of any occasion when somebody had, for whatever reason,

21 exercised that type of favouritism and waved someone

22 through?

23 A. No, sir.

24 Q. Before I ask you this next small set of questions, let

25 me be very clear: I'm not in any way suggesting that you

 

 

22

 

1 have been involved in this type of operation. I just

2 want to have your professional opinion on it.

3 Were a group of military personnel and/or police

4 personnel -- particularly military -- wanting to, as it

5 were, exercise a degree of their own discretion to set

6 up a vehicle checkpoint that perhaps hadn't been planned

7 or ordered -- do you follow me?

8 A. No, sir, because the Commander, and myself as

9 a commander, would not have let it happen.

10 Q. You didn't let me finish, but that's probably the answer

11 you would have given had you allowed me to. You, the

12 Commander, wouldn't allow it to happen.

13 What I was going to ask you was how difficult would

14 it be -- I know you are saying that either the Commander

15 would have said, "No, we are not doing that" -- but in

16 theory, how difficult would it be for a group of

17 military personnel to set up a checkpoint that wasn't

18 authorised and wasn't planned?

19 A. Well, sir, straight away you would have a police

20 constable with you, the Royal Military Police personnel

21 with you.

22 Q. Always?

23 A. Yes. And you've your own soldiers with you, and all

24 radio traffic is reported back. Your VCP grids -- well,

25 I will put it in layman's terms to you, sir.

 

 

23

 

1 Q. I would be delighted if you would?

2 A. If I put up a VCP down the road and it was not

3 authorised, a vehicle come down the road, I stopped the

4 vehicle, you got out of that vehicle and were nasty to

5 me, say I lost my head with you and hit you with my

6 rifle and you fell to the ground and took a heart attack

7 and died at that VCP, I would be hung by the neck.

8 Q. Yes. Let me give you this scenario. Again, to be

9 absolutely clear, I'm not suggesting for a moment that

10 you have been involved in any of this, but I just want

11 to debate it with you because of your expertise.

12 If someone was setting up a vehicle checkpoint for

13 a sinister reason --

14 A. Sir.

15 Q. -- they are unlikely, are they not, to attract attention

16 by being nasty to someone and hit them with a rifle? Do

17 you see what I'm saying?

18 A. I see what you are saying, sir.

19 Q. They would keep a low profile. But going back to

20 something you said, what would make it difficult, as I

21 understand it, would be the number of different

22 personnel, if you like, involved?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Everybody would have to be in agreement with it?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

24

 

1 Q. Radio transmissions are or were recorded?

2 A. Monitored and recorded.

3 Q. How long could you be silent, as it were, on the net

4 because somebody might radio you to see what was going

5 on and why you were silent?

6 A. Sir, you wouldn't be silent because you were given times

7 to do VCPs, and if you weren't at that VCP they were on

8 the squawk box shouting.

9 Q. And, again, you may not want to answer this, but

10 I suspect there may have been occasions when you were

11 tempted to turn the radio off and stop and have

12 a cigarette, and presumably there was close monitoring

13 to make sure that everybody was doing what they were

14 meant to be doing?

15 A. I will tell you how bad it was, sir. To be honest, the

16 monitoring, we used to have a code word back to the ops

17 room and go on to the net and say, "Sierra bravo", which

18 was smoke break, and they understood you were having

19 a smoke break.

20 Q. What you are seem to be saying is that would be very

21 difficult. Can I ask you about honesty traces on maps?

22 A. Yes, sir.

23 Q. What do you know about that?

24 A. Honesty traces, every patrol was given a map and you had

25 to put on it what junction you were at. Every road and

 

 

25

 

1 the AOR had a number and a code on it, and when you were

2 travelling that road, what time you went on the road,

3 what time you left the road, what time you went on to

4 the next road, what time you left the road, everything

5 was monitored.

6 Q. When you say monitored, do you mean written

7 contemporaneously or monitored by radio traffic?

8 A. No, it was written down on your route monitoring map.

9 Q. So the Commander at every stage --

10 A. It was the two ICs' job to do --

11 Q. Well, it would be, wouldn't it? The two ICs had to

12 write down at every junction you mentioned, where you

13 were and what you were doing?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. So just to conclude this little area, have you ever been

16 aware of, if I use this word, a covert vehicle

17 checkpoint that hadn't been authorised, that hadn't been

18 monitored? Have you ever heard of such a thing?

19 A. No, sir.

20 Q. And to conclude, what would be your response if I were

21 to suggest to you that on the night of the murder of

22 Rosemary Nelson, there had been a vehicle checkpoint on

23 the Castor Bay Road that was unaccounted for? As I say,

24 I'm not suggesting for a moment that you were involved

25 in that.

 

 

26

 

1 A. Well, sir, as you will probably go later on with that

2 vehicle checkpoint, I can't account for it either

3 because I was in the aircraft.

4 Q. No, certainly. But I'm just asking again, using your

5 very helpful expertise, you would be very surprised to

6 hear about that, from what you have just told us?

7 A. I would be very surprised to hear about it.

8 Q. But you can't offer an explanation and there is no

9 reason that you should?

10 A. I can't, to be honest.

11 THE CHAIRMAN: From a helicopter, could you actually see

12 a vehicle checkpoint, the soldiers involved in a vehicle

13 checkpoint?

14 A. Yes, sir, you can.

15 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

16 MR SAVILL: Now, you did in fact yourself stop Mrs Nelson

17 once at a vehicle checkpoint?

18 A. I think, yes, sir.

19 Q. That may have been a silver car day?

20 A. It was.

21 Q. And that was the reason why she was stopped, was it?

22 A. It was, sir. It was a routine VCP. All silver vehicles

23 were stopped and occupants checked and licences checked.

24 Q. Would it be fair for me to move on from that to say it

25 was an entirely normal stop?

 

 

27

 

1 A. Yes, sir, a completely and utterly normal stop.

2 Q. Did you know who she was at the time?

3 A. No, sir.

4 Q. When did you become aware of who Rosemary Nelson was?

5 A. After the time Mrs Nelson was killed.

6 Q. Now, breaking that down, had you heard the name

7 Rosemary Nelson before she was killed?

8 A. No, sir.

9 Q. So it wasn't until after her death that you either heard

10 the name and, therefore, were able to put a name to

11 a face?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Is that fair to say?

14 A. That's correct.

15 Q. Now, again just to try and assist you, we have heard

16 a little evidence from one or two people about comments

17 that may have been made about Mrs Nelson --

18 A. Sir.

19 Q. -- made within the security forces. And again, to be

20 clear about this, I'm not suggesting that you were

21 involved in that, but to give you an example, it has

22 been suggested that an RUC officer may have made

23 a comment along the lines of instead of dunking for

24 apples in a bucket of water, Mrs Nelson had done it in

25 a chip pan, because you will recollect she had a very

 

 

28

 

1 sad disfigurement to her face. Yes?

2 A. Sir.

3 Q. Did you ever hear any type of unpleasantness such as

4 that from any member of the security forces?

5 A. No, sir, I didn't. But if I had of -- which I did

6 not -- I would have stopped and reported it straight

7 away.

8 Q. I'm not talking about formal meetings where she was

9 mentioned. I'm perhaps talking about over a coffee in

10 the canteen or in the back of a Land Rover?

11 A. As I say again, sir, no, I haven't, but if I had have, I

12 would have stopped it.

13 Q. Did you ever hear, albeit not using Mrs Nelson's own

14 name, any unpleasant commentary or positive commentary

15 perhaps about lawyers acting for suspected terrorists?

16 A. No, sir.

17 Q. Because again, we have heard some evidence that's really

18 been to the effect that a lawyer and a suspected

19 terrorist are very much one and the same; the lawyer has

20 made themselves part of the conflict and they were no

21 better than the person they were representing. Do you

22 understand?

23 A. Yes, sir, I do understand.

24 Q. What it amounts to, I would suggest, is an inability on

25 the part of that person to distinguish the professional

 

 

29

 

1 duties and role of a solicitor and the person they were

2 representing. Do you have any views on that?

3 A. No, sir, I do not have any views on that.

4 Q. And did you ever hear any suggestion of a relationship

5 that went beyond solicitor and client between Mr Duffy

6 and Mrs Nelson?

7 A. No, sir, I didn't.

8 Q. Now, you have kindly answered the questions regarding

9 Mrs Nelson, lawyers and Mr Duffy saying, "No I didn't".

10 Can I take it that you mean, "No, I didn't, either

11 before or, indeed, after her death"?

12 A. Sir, after a death you will hear -- people will make

13 comments and say things, to be honest, about it, but I

14 didn't at any time hear it.

15 Q. Before her death?

16 A. Before her death.

17 Q. Thank you. And can you tell me, therefore, what it was

18 that you did hear -- and, again, I'm not suggesting that

19 you said any of this -- maybe you did, I don't know --

20 what was said after her death?

21 A. That she was going with Mr Duffy, and that was said by

22 the people after that.

23 Q. I'm sorry, "the people", do you mean civilians --

24 A. Yes, civilians.

25 Q. Civilians. That presumably was a discussion that you

 

 

30

 

1 overheard whilst off-duty, or did you hear it while you

2 were on duty?

3 A. Not, you heard off duty, sir.

4 Q. What about members of the security forces, were they

5 involved in that sort of chatter?

6 A. No, I have never heard that sort of chatter.

7 Q. Now, I have mentioned to you some views that have been

8 expressed. If you would look at your cipher list, you

9 can see A188, yes?

10 A. Sir.

11 Q. Did you know that person?

12 A. I honestly I can't remember that person.

13 Q. That's a very fair answer. So were I to ask you whether

14 you recollected any views expressed by that person, you

15 would say, "I can't"?

16 A. No, I can't.

17 Q. Were you aware of an individual called William Thompson?

18 A. Yes, sir.

19 Q. Who was a Royal Irish Regiment soldier?

20 A. I was. As I explained before, I was vaguely aware of

21 him.

22 Q. So, again, help me: did you serve at the same time, the

23 same place? Was he a friend of yours?

24 A. He came down to B Company, 3UDR, sir, just before I left

25 and he was in the number 2 platoon, and that's how

 

 

31

 

1 I knew him. I didn't know him as a personal friend

2 because he was on a different shift to me. I just knew

3 him as a work colleague.

4 Q. Just so I understand this, the unit you were serving in,

5 the regiment, probably you knew of most people in it.

6 Would that be fair?

7 A. No, sir, you don't.

8 Q. Far too big?

9 A. You are talking about a battalion of 1,300 people.

10 Q. Right. So the impression we get is that you might pass

11 people -- I'm not going to say on the street, but in the

12 barracks that you have never seen before?

13 A. Certainly, sir, you would pass people in other platoons

14 that you had never seen in your life before. You might

15 meet them in the canteen and, to be honest, you might

16 say to them, "What are you doing in the job, how long

17 have you been in the job?" And he could probably turn

18 round and say, "I've been here for three years".

19 Q. Right. So how was it that you came to know

20 William Thompson?

21 A. As I say, sir, he came to bolster the company up,

22 B Company.

23 Q. How did you come to know him?

24 A. I just knew him in the other platoon.

25 Q. Did you speak to him?

 

 

32

 

1 A. No.

2 Q. Did you work with him?

3 A. He was a colleague at work. He worked a different shift

4 to me.

5 Q. Right. Could we call up on to the screen, RNI-401-614,

6 please (displayed)? We can see that this gentleman

7 found himself in a little bit of trouble.

8 You can see what it is. It's a printout from the

9 Internet of the BBC News website, dated 4 April 2001.

10 We can see in the first paragraph Mr Thompson, who had,

11 it is said, links with a right wing extremist group, had

12 been gaoled for nine years for storing Loyalist arms;

13 yes?

14 A. Yes, sir.

15 Q. And there was certain material discovered that had

16 references to Mrs Nelson. So were you aware of this

17 before I showed it to you?

18 A. Yes, I had seen it, sir, so I had.

19 Q. I don't mean the document. I mean, were you aware --

20 A. I was aware after I went to Portadown. I was told that

21 he had been gaoled. He'd left and he had been caught

22 with weapons and stuff.

23 Q. Yes. And without giving any details, did you know where

24 he lived?

25 A. No, sir.

 

 

33

 

1 Q. No. Now, I'm going to move on to the topic of

2 helicopters. I will probably make this far more

3 complicated than it needs to be, so bear with me. I'm

4 going to just take you through some matters of principle

5 and theory. That does sound very grand; it probably

6 won't be. Then we are going to come to the actual

7 flights that I want to ask you about. Okay?

8 A. Yes, sir.

9 Q. Now, helicopters, I think, were of different types?

10 A. Yes, they are.

11 Q. A Gazelle and a Puma. There may be others, but those

12 were the two main work horses, weren't they?

13 A. They were, yes.

14 Q. And you, when you were deployed as an LO, found yourself

15 99 per cent of the time, 100 per cent of the time on

16 a Gazelle?

17 A. As an LO, sir, you'd be on a Gazelle 100 per cent of the

18 time.

19 Q. I think we have touched on this earlier, they were

20 deployed to deal with a number of different types of

21 incidents? When I say "deal with", what I mean is to

22 provide eyes in the sky over whatever the incident was,

23 to avoid sending in ground troops. That was the

24 principle, wasn't it?

25 A. Yes, they were top cover for troops going in.

 

 

34

 

1 Q. This sounds a rather silly thing to say, but they

2 weren't armed helicopters?

3 A. No.

4 Q. They were simply there to relay information to assist

5 those on the ground?

6 A. The Gazelle was there with the LO on board to relay

7 information back to the officer who, in turn, would

8 relay information to the troops on the ground of what

9 was happening on the ground.

10 Q. You may not be able to help me with this, but who

11 authorised the deployment of a Gazelle helicopter? How

12 did it come about?

13 A. AORs would have been given to a battalion, the police

14 would have requested helicopter flights and the

15 military -- some commanders on the ground might have

16 requested helicopters to look at things for them on the

17 ground.

18 Q. So they could be planned operations?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. And they could be an operation done at -- I say the

21 click of the fingers, but --

22 A. Yes, sir, they could.

23 Q. And those, we said, ranged from hoax devices, major

24 public disorder, shootings?

25 A. Everything.

 

 

35

 

1 Q. All those sort of things. And it could be the

2 appropriately ranked military officer or police officer

3 who could simply be walking in a field or down the road

4 who would radio and request for a helicopter to come up?

5 A. No, sir, it is not as easy as that. What happens is if

6 you request a helicopter, it will go up to the ops

7 officer. The ops officer would authorise it, he'd get

8 on to the squawk box and ask for the helicopter, and if

9 there is a helicopter available, a helicopter will be

10 tasked.

11 Q. Very much clearer than the way I put it. Thank you.

12 Now, in your experience, what was the proportion of

13 planned outings by the helicopter as opposed to one-offs

14 or ad hoc use of the helicopter?

15 A. The helicopter was used -- the Gazelle was used three or

16 four times a day, every day, for cover of the changeover

17 of the RUC, changeover the troops and everything else.

18 Q. Yes. What I'm trying to drive at is that you have got

19 helicopters flying around for that type of thing, which

20 people knew was going to happen?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Or that was planned the week before, that we need to

23 take someone from A to B, for example, but we have also

24 got, "I need a helicopter now"?

25 A. Yes, sir.

 

 

36

 

1 Q. What was the proportion, please, in percentage terms, if

2 you can guess or estimate, of the usage?

3 A. Again, sir, it depends what was happening on the ground.

4 If a helicopter was warranted, it was sent to; if it

5 wasn't, it wasn't. It depends what is happening on the

6 ground at the time.

7 Q. So what you are wanting to say is it is an unfair

8 question?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. I'll ask you again: have a guess, please. Roughly?

11 A. In proportion to the helicopter being request of -- what

12 you mean, sir, is a helicopter --

13 Q. Pre-planned and not planned?

14 A. Pre-planned, you get helicopters every day; not planned,

15 you might have got a helicopter once a week, two times

16 a week.

17 Q. But equally there may have been a lot of trouble over

18 one weekend and you could have had four helicopter trips

19 over the weekend?

20 A. Yes, you could have, sir.

21 Q. Thank you. Now, as far as records of helicopter flights

22 are concerned, I suspect that you may not be the man to

23 ask about this, but are you able to help me as to what

24 was created in terms of records for a helicopter trip?

25 A. Yes, sir, I can help you. Say it was Gazelle 4, he

 

 

37

 

1 would have come on to the radio and informed the ops

2 room, "Hello Zero, this is Gazelle 4 on approach to your

3 location. (inaudible) for closedown." That would have

4 been logged in the operations room on the occurrence

5 book. It would have closed down. We would then have

6 got the brief and it would have been back on to the net,

7 "Hello Zero, this is Gazelle 4. Permission to take off

8 from your location, flight bound over Lurgan town

9 centre."

10 Q. Sorry, Zero is who?

11 A. That's the ops room.

12 Q. What you are saying is radio traffic from the helicopter

13 to the ops room would be recorded?

14 A. It would, sir.

15 Q. What about contact with those actually on the scene at

16 the ground? That was possible, wasn't it?

17 A. It was wrote down. Again, sir, the ops room monitored

18 it and wrote it all down in the occurrence book.

19 Q. Was it actually on a cassette tape?

20 A. No, sir, if it had have been an incident, it would have

21 been recorded on a cassette tape.

22 Q. So as far as you are concerned, there was a record

23 of it?

24 A. Yes, there was a hard copy of it on paper.

25 Q. And the records you are talking about, they would apply

 

 

38

 

1 equally to a planned expedition as to an unplanned

2 expedition?

3 A. Yes, sir, they would.

4 Q. Now, did you or have you ever heard of a covert

5 deployment of a helicopter, either by being part of it

6 or hearing from other people, that was not recorded?

7 A. No, sir. Again, I would not have been privy if a covert

8 operation was going down because I would not have been

9 the LO on board.

10 Q. No. But had you every heard it discussed amongst the

11 troops?

12 A. No.

13 Q. At the risk of stating the obvious, it wouldn't have

14 remained covert?

15 A. It wouldn't have remained covert because the soldiers

16 would have been talking in the NAAFI.

17 Q. As far as you are concerned, as an LO -- I'm not saying

18 you personally, but as an LO, you would get a telephone

19 call or a page, I think you said?

20 A. Yes, sir.

21 Q. To present yourself to the helicopter when it landed?

22 A. Present myself to the ops room, sir, for a brief.

23 Q. Would you always do that or would things sometimes be so

24 fast occurring that you would go straight to the

25 helicopter?

 

 

39

 

1 A. It depends sir. If there has been an incident and there

2 is a Gazelle inbound, the ops room will tell you, "Get

3 on board the Gazelle. You'll get a hot brief on the

4 move."

5 Q. And the brief would come via your headset --

6 A. From the ops room to tell you there has been a shooting

7 incident. You would go and check grid whatever it is.

8 Q. Now, can we call up RNI-840-178, please (displayed)?

9 Can we highlight paragraph 17? If we look three lines

10 down:

11 "In terms of a briefing, the level of information

12 that you would receive would simply be in relation to

13 the incident itself and basic details about what in

14 particular they were looking for."

15 Yes?

16 A. Yes, sir.

17 Q. So I think that's the polite way of saying that you were

18 told the bare minimum?

19 A. Yes, you were.

20 Q. Which sometimes, presumably, wasn't very helpful.

21 Now, when you were on board the helicopter, you were

22 on board because -- and help me understand this -- you

23 were the only LO available or you were the most

24 appropriate? What was the selection?

25 A. You were the LO for the next 24 hours, sir. It could

 

 

40

 

1 have been someone else, but it is just usually the one

2 with the most experience gets the LO job.

3 Q. Usually the way. So just to be clear, when there was

4 a 24-hour -- sorry. Shifts were 24 hours; yes? So if I

5 had walked into Mahon Road and said, "Introduce me to

6 the LO", that would be accurate because there would be

7 only one?

8 A. Yes, there would be.

9 Q. So it wouldn't be the case that someone would say,

10 "Let's get him because he knows more about that area

11 than the other chap". There was just one?

12 A. Yes, there is just one, sir.

13 Q. But presumably the shift management as such was that

14 there was always an LO available on every shift?

15 A. Yes, you always had an LO on each QRF.

16 Q. Were you ever asked to swap with anybody to be an LO if

17 they were short, or was it --

18 A. No, sir.

19 Q. -- immovable?

20 A. It is totally immovable because it would have upset my

21 shift pattern of work.

22 Q. How far in advance did you receive notification that you

23 were going to be an LO on the particular day?

24 A. You could have got about 15 minutes' brief.

25 Q. Right. Well, forgive me, it's a serious question. What

 

 

41

 

1 I'm asking you is how easy would it have been for an LO

2 to ensure that they were on a particular flight?

3 A. Impossible, sir.

4 Q. Why?

5 A. Because the helicopters come in at all hours. If

6 a helicopter was away some place, the LO got paged

7 and -- it just didn't happen. Plain and simple, it just

8 didn't happen.

9 Q. So we are obviously looking -- let's be clear about the

10 night -- at Sunday, 14/15 March?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. You are saying, are you, that it was only when you came

13 on shift prior to that that you were told you would be

14 the LO?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. It could have been that you turned up thinking, "I hope

17 I'm not the LO tonight" and discovered that in fact

18 somebody else was the LO. Would there ever have been

19 two LOs but one not used, as such?

20 A. They are usually used -- you might have had another

21 stand-by LO, to be honest. That would have been the

22 platoon sergeant.

23 Q. So, therefore, is it not the case that if you -- you

24 personally -- were working, you would have to be the LO?

25 You would know you were going to be the LO?

 

 

42

 

1 A. Yes, you would be the LO, but you don't know what time

2 you would be going up in the flight.

3 Q. No, that's a different point. That's my fault. What

4 I'm saying is you would know in advance that you were

5 going to be working on certain nights, certain days?

6 A. Yes, you would.

7 Q. How far in advance?

8 A. The morning you come on duty, sir.

9 Q. That's not right, is it? Why would you turn up at the

10 barracks? Because you knew that it was your shift?

11 A. No, sir. If you are on 24-hour duty, you were the LO

12 for that 24-hour period.

13 Q. I understand that, but what I'm saying is what causes

14 you to turn up and say, "Hello, I'm here for my shift"?

15 A. Because you had a rota system.

16 Q. That's what I'm driving at. That rota, how far in

17 advance was it planned out?

18 A. Oh, goodness. I would honestly --

19 Q. Roughly. A month? A week?

20 A. Every four weeks the cycle changed.

21 Q. It is entirely my fault. I'm just trying to get it

22 clear in my mind. So let's just use this expression:

23 some time in advance of you coming on to your shift, you

24 would know when your shift was?

25 A. Yes, you knew exactly when your shift was.

 

 

43

 

1 Q. And when you personally knew it was your shift, the

2 chances were you would be almost certainly the LO?

3 A. Yes, I was going to be the LO.

4 Q. But there might be a stand-by LO?

5 A. Yes, there might be. If I was a leave, there would be

6 an LO on stand-by.

7 Q. And in fairness to you, I think, what you have said, due

8 to my not putting the question properly, was that that's

9 all well and good, but I wouldn't have a clue whether or

10 not the helicopter would need me on that shift?

11 A. Yes, that is correct, sir.

12 Q. So it is all very well saying I knew I would be the LO,

13 but I might have been undisturbed, as such, for the

14 entire shift?

15 A. Yes, sir.

16 Q. Right. Now, as far as helicopters -- before we just

17 move on -- are concerned -- and we will deal with this

18 in a bit more detail -- were they ever used, either

19 because of the video recordings or the people on board

20 in your experience, as evidence? I'm using that in

21 a legal sense.

22 A. Yes, it has been used as evidence in the court of law.

23 Q. What has?

24 A. Evidence from the helicopters, i.e. --

25 Q. People and recordings?

 

 

44

 

1 A. Yes, people and recordings. If a person is dressed in

2 such and such a colour and he was observed doing this --

3 Q. Right.

4 A. -- it has been taken into --

5 Q. And we followed the car for the following route, and so

6 on and so forth?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. And dealing with your role once you are on the

9 helicopter, I think that that was, if I may say so,

10 slightly twofold. First of all you were providing input

11 from the briefing you had received?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Because the pilots and Commander wouldn't usually be

14 briefed?

15 A. No, unless an incident had went down.

16 Q. Yes. And also you were, I think, to provide direct

17 geographical assistance as to where --

18 A. Yes, that's correct.

19 Q. As to where you were meant to go?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. So when somebody said someone has thrown a fire bomb in

22 the chip shop on this street, the pilots who were coming

23 from out of town, as it were, wouldn't have a clue where

24 it was. Whereas you would say, "Never mine the map, it

25 is there and the quickest way to get there is as

 

 

45

 

1 follows"?

2 A. If he was using the downlink, i.e. the camera, you could

3 say to him, "Go right, go left. That's it there.

4 That's the one I'm talking about."

5 Q. I think I'm right in saying -- I don't mean this

6 crudely -- the navigation was more primitive than we

7 would care to imagine, i.e. turn right at the motorway and

8 follow that road?

9 A. It is follow roads and junctions when they were flying.

10 Q. Yes. Just to be clear again about all of this, how

11 significant was your role -- I say "your role" -- the

12 LO's role in dictating the journey and position of the

13 aircraft?

14 A. It wouldn't have been really significant at all because

15 I would have give him a grid of where we are going to

16 and he would have flew to that grid and we would have

17 went static. And I would have told him where I want to

18 look on the ground.

19 Q. But it was up to you to give him that grid?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. So you, as it were, gave him the end result, but it was

22 up to him how he got to it?

23 A. It was his aircraft. It was up to him how he got there

24 and when he got there. It was up to me to tell him

25 where to position.

 

 

46

 

1 Q. I'm putting fuel issues to one side, but how long to

2 stay there, whether to go round again?

3 A. He would make that decision himself. If he couldn't get

4 a good view himself, he would move the aircraft to

5 a better viewing point.

6 Q. When you say he couldn't get a good view himself, we are

7 talking about the Commander, are we?

8 A. Yes, we are talking about the two ICs of the helicopter.

9 Q. There is the pilot and the Commander?

10 A. Yes, there is.

11 Q. I think there was only room for you and one other on

12 board?

13 A. There was, sir.

14 Q. So it was a joint effort, was it, between you and the

15 Commander as to whether to go round and how to position?

16 A. Yes, it was.

17 Q. What sort of view from your eyes did you have out of the

18 helicopter because I personally, obviously, have never

19 travelled in one. Was it out of a side window? Was

20 there Perspex in the floor? What was the view?

21 A. Basically you had from left to right, if you was like

22 that, forward, that's what you had.

23 Q. Were you actually positioned in the middle of the

24 helicopter?

25 A. No, I would be back off to the right-hand side.

 

 

47

 

1 Q. Sorry, I'm just getting that in my mind's eye. So you

2 are in the back starboard side of the helicopter?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Behind the pilot and the Commander?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. So you have got a window much closer to you on the

7 right?

8 A. Yes, you have.

9 Q. And you have a window a bit further away from you on the

10 left, but you nevertheless had a clear view out of that

11 window?

12 A. Yes, you always have a clear view.

13 Q. Could you actually see anything out of the front of the

14 helicopter or not?

15 A. You can, yes.

16 Q. But you would have to presumably move your neck --

17 A. You have to move -- angle yourself between the pilot and

18 the co-pilot.

19 Q. Did you always take binoculars with you or were they

20 always on the helicopter?

21 A. They were always supplied on the aircraft, two sets.

22 Q. I appreciate how long is a piece of string, but could

23 you have a view of somebody's face, somebody's number

24 plate? How good a view could you have had from

25 a helicopter?

 

 

48

 

1 A. If you are using the right equipment, and the air frame,

2 the helicopter itself, remained static without

3 vibrating, you could get a good view, so you could. You

4 could identify a person off the ground if you were close

5 enough with the aircraft.

6 Q. Now, as far as communication in the air is concerned,

7 you could all talk together --

8 A. Yes, we can, sir.

9 Q. -- on the aircraft.

10 A. The intercom.

11 Q. You, the LO, could also, however, I think I'm right in

12 saying, switch off from that, from the crew, and have --

13 I use the word advisedly -- private conversations to the

14 ground?

15 A. No, sir, you can't.

16 Q. Is that not right?

17 A. No, it is not.

18 Q. So you could talk to troops --

19 A. You could talk to troops on the ground and the co-pilot

20 and the pilot will be -- because if you have said

21 something wrong, the co-pilot can come in over the top

22 of you and say, "That's wrong" because everybody hears

23 everybody talking on the ground and everybody can talk

24 to everybody on the ground.

25 Q. Just, again, so I'm clear, it was not possible for you

 

 

49

 

1 to talk to anyone on the military or security force net

2 on the ground without the Commander or pilot hearing it?

3 A. No, sir, definitely not.

4 Q. You couldn't dictate that?

5 A. No, you can't.

6 Q. Again, this may seem a silly question, but again, just

7 answer it for me, please: what would have been the

8 possibilities for an LO to have used a mobile telephone

9 whilst on board a Gazelle?

10 A. Sir, there's that much equipment on board the aircraft,

11 if you start to use a telephone, possibly you would

12 bring that aircraft down.

13 Q. I think we have all been told off by stewardesses in our

14 time for having our mobiles on. We are all familiar

15 with that. You are saying you wouldn't because of the

16 technology involved. Presumably, would there have been

17 a noise issue as well?

18 A. You would have got white noise, feedback through your

19 mike for starters for using it, which you know yourself

20 if you hear feedback, white noise. Plus there is -- I

21 would say stress, there is a strong possibility that

22 that aircraft could be downed by you using a telephone.

23 You might short out some of the equipment on that

24 aircraft.

25 Q. In fact, were you ever warned about that?

 

 

50

 

1 A. No, because you would never use -- you never brought

2 a mobile with you.

3 Q. I was going to ask you that. Did you ever take a mobile

4 telephone with you?

5 A. No, sir.

6 Q. But you would normally be on a Gazelle, not a Puma?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. And the next thing I want to ask you is contact with the

9 ground physically whilst you were out in the helicopter.

10 Did that ever occur? You would be dropped off in

11 a field, for example?

12 A. No, sir, there is no chance of that happening.

13 Q. Why was that?

14 A. Because to go down on to a field, a helicopter to drop

15 you on to on field in Northern Ireland at that time

16 would be complete and utter madness.

17 Q. I am afraid you will have to humour what may seem

18 ridiculous questions from me?

19 A. Yes, sir.

20 Q. Because I obviously don't know as much as you do about

21 it. Why would it have been so dangerous?

22 A. Because you work in teams of four. You work four,

23 eight, 12, 16. Why would you drop someone off in a

24 field on their own with the level of terrorist threat in

25 Northern Ireland?

 

 

51

 

1 Q. I'm not really directing my questions as to why you

2 would, I'm directing them as to how you could. So in

3 theory, a helicopter could land in a field and drop you

4 off?

5 A. Yes, it could.

6 Q. But what you are saying is in reality why would that

7 happen and, moreover, it never did?

8 A. No.

9 Q. Were you normally, ordinarily, in uniform when you were

10 on duty as an LO?

11 A. You were, sir. It was part of the dress code.

12 Q. So you would never go up in your civvies?

13 A. No, sir.

14 Q. For whatever reason. And as far as video recording on

15 a Gazelle is concerned, let's just discuss that. What

16 was the video recording equipment? It was a camera?

17 A. It was a thermal imaging camera and recording -- what

18 you would call probably a crammer.

19 Q. A what?

20 A. A crammer video. Take multiple -- quick succession.

21 Q. But it didn't have to be a thermal image, did it?

22 A. No, it could record daytime or night time. If it was

23 switched over to night time recording, it was thermal.

24 Q. Right. As far as the controls to the recording

25 machinery were concerned, where were they positioned?

 

 

52

 

1 A. They were positioned on the left-hand side of the

2 aircraft under the co-pilot at the very front.

3 Q. So you didn't have access to them?

4 A. No.

5 Q. But I think I'm right in saying you had a degree of

6 input as LO into what was recorded, or is that not fair

7 or accurate?

8 A. You don't really have an input, sir, to be honest. It

9 is naturally believed that if an incident happens, that

10 the helicopter will automatically start recording the

11 incident.

12 Q. Well, could we look at RNI-840-180 (displayed)? Thank

13 you. Highlight paragraph 23, please.

14 Now, I'm going to just unhelpfully say the middle

15 that of paragraph. You can see on the left-hand side

16 "Sunday, 14 March 1999". Yes?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. "If there was video equipment on board, then it would be

19 the responsibility of the Commander to operate it, not

20 mine."

21 A. That's correct.

22 Q. I understand that. It was his responsibility. But then

23 you go on to say:

24 "I could ask the Commander to video certain

25 incidents and I could also communicate with the

 

 

53

 

1 operations room."

2 So isn't it right, therefore, from what I have just

3 asked you that in fact -- I'm not saying you could give

4 him orders, but you had a degree of input into what was

5 or wasn't recorded?

6 A. Yes, you could ask him if he would video it.

7 Q. All right. Let me ask you the obvious question from

8 that. Did he usually agree with you?

9 A. If you had probably asked him, he probably would record

10 it, sir.

11 Q. I'm not going to take you to it, but in a statement to

12 the police dated 15 February 2002, you mentioned that if

13 you had -- as you often did -- a good working

14 relationship with a particular commander, you would take

15 it as said that he would record what was obviously in

16 need of being recorded?

17 A. Yes, sir.

18 Q. So as far as you can recollect, as far as obtaining

19 a copy of any recording that was made, that may have

20 been made, what was the procedure for that?

21 A. The procedure was, sir, that once back on the ground, if

22 there was a copy requested, a phone call would be made

23 to Aldegrove, the aircraft would be informed that there

24 was a copy required of the video. Aircraft would land,

25 the video would be put into a library, copied. It would

 

 

54

 

1 have a unique serial number. Then the driver would be

2 dispatched to lift the copy, it would be signed for and

3 brought back to the ops room.

4 Q. And who would normally make the request?

5 A. It more than likely would be the intelligence officer or

6 the ops officer.

7 Q. Thank you. Sir, I'm about to move on to a slightly

8 different topic. I'm in your hands. I don't know

9 whether the stenographer would appreciate a break?

10 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, right. Should we have a break now?

11 The Video Engineer, before the witness leaves, would

12 you please confirm that all the cameras have been

13 switched off?

14 THE VIDEO ENGINEER: Yes, sir, they have.

15 THE CHAIRMAN: Please escort the witness out.

16 There will be a quarter of an hour break. That's 25

17 past three.

18 (3.10 pm)

19 (Short break)

20 (3.25 pm)

21 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr Currans, the checklist. Is the public

22 area screen fully in place, locked and the key secured?

23 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

24 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the fire doors on either side of the

25 screen closed?

 

 

55

 

1 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

2 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the technical support screens in place

3 and securely fastened?

4 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Is anyone other than Inquiry personnel and

6 Participants' legal representatives seated in the body

7 of this chamber?

8 MR CURRANS: No, sir.

9 THE CHAIRMAN: Can the video engineer please confirm that

10 the two witness cameras have been switched off and

11 shrouded?

12 THE VIDEO ENGINEER: Yes, sir, they have.

13 THE CHAIRMAN: All the other cameras have been switched off?

14 THE VIDEO ENGINEER: Yes, sir, they have.

15 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

16 Bring the witness in, please.

17 The cameras on the Panel, Inquiry personnel and the

18 Full Participants' legal representatives may now be

19 switched back on.

20 Yes, Mr Savill?

21 MR SAVILL: Thank you, sir.

22 I would like to just ask you now about two flights

23 on the evening of Sunday, 14 March.

24 A. Yes, sir.

25 Q. The first one I'm going to refer to as Gazelle 4 and the

 

 

56

 

1 second one as Gazelle 6. Dealing with Gazelle 4 first

2 of all, that was a flight that took place involving

3 a refuelling stop, between 6 pm and 8 pm on that

4 evening?

5 A. It was, sir.

6 Q. Now, are you able to recollect what sort of light may

7 have been available to you to see at that time of day

8 and of the year?

9 A. Oh, goodness, I'm fairly certain it was light at that

10 stage. Yes, it was, it was light at that stage.

11 Q. Okay, thank you. And if we look at RNI-840-181, please

12 (displayed), the bottom paragraph, 29, we can see that:

13 "On Sunday, 14 March, I was working as part of

14 a QRF, and at 16.00 hours, I was informed that a suspect

15 device had been found on Lake Street. By 18.00 hours I

16 was on the helicopter heading out to the Kilwilke

17 Estate. I came off duty at 1 am."

18 Yes?

19 A. Yes, sir.

20 Q. Now, being called out in that way presumably was fairly

21 run-of-the-mill for you, was it?

22 A. It was, sir.

23 Q. And you gave a statement to the police about all this at

24 RNI-834-222 (displayed). That's dated 22 April 1999. I

25 don't know if we can highlight the whole of the page --

 

 

57

 

1 I'm not going to read it all -- but this was

2 a statement, stating the obvious, given much nearer the

3 time. That's why I'm taking you to it.

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. And you see five lines down that you went to the ops

6 room and you were briefed by Captain A660, who was the

7 operations officer; yes?

8 A. Yes, sir.

9 Q. It goes on to say at various times. 17.58 hours and,

10 three lines down, 18.07 hours. They are obviously very

11 precise. How were you able to give such precise

12 timings. Did you have a notebook?

13 A. When you are being tasked, you always check your time.

14 It is something a soldier does when he's going to a

15 helicopter, he checks times. When he is called to do

16 something, he looks at the time.

17 Q. You may look at it, but how did you remember it?

18 A. I'm near sure I wrote it down in my notebook.

19 Q. Right. And off you went in the helicopter to have

20 a look, as it were, at this hoax device; yes?

21 A. Suspect device at that stage, sir.

22 Q. Suspect device at that stage. And one of the things I

23 think that's in your mind, or needs to be decided in

24 this sort of situation, is whether or not it was, to use

25 the expression, a come-on or not?

 

 

58

 

1 A. Yes, sir.

2 Q. Whether or not it was to entice ground forces into the

3 area?

4 A. Looking at it, I would have had a look at it and

5 reported back to the troops or the ops room to what

6 I seen from the air at that stage.

7 Q. So what you are saying, I think, if you will forgive me,

8 is that perhaps others may have made that decision based

9 on the information you were providing them?

10 A. They would have made at that decision based on the

11 information that I was providing to them.

12 Q. And as far as the pilot, Mr Wakeham, and the Commander

13 are concerned, can you recollect whether or not you had

14 flown with them on a previous occasion?

15 A. To be honest, sir, I cannot recall.

16 Q. In your statement to the Inquiry -- I'll tell you -- you

17 say that they weren't known to you. Can you recollect

18 whether you flew with them again, after this incident,

19 this weekend?

20 A. In that statement, sir, was it not the second pilot that

21 I did not recognise?

22 Q. Well, I won't check that, but somebody will just while

23 we continue. It perhaps doesn't matter an enormous

24 amount.

25 Now, I'm going to ask, please, if we can have up on

 

 

59

 

1 the screen, the security force activity map created by

2 the Inquiry, which will hopefully show us the route of

3 this helicopter.

4 Now, if we just pause there in fact, we can

5 hopefully just take a moment, or you can, to see that.

6 A. Yes, sir.

7 Q. All very familiar to you, I expect; yes?

8 A. Not very familiar. Sort of familiar, sir.

9 Q. Right. You are not seeing it for the first time.

10 We can see Lake Street, we can see Mrs Nelson's

11 house and we can see with -- I'm not sure what the

12 colour is, rust, perhaps -- a dotted line of the flight

13 path of Gazelle 4.

14 A. Yes, sir.

15 Q. Yes. Now, you also made a statement to the police which

16 we touched on before, 22 April 1999, and when you were

17 talking to the police, you created a map for them, which

18 perhaps shows some more detail.

19 Now, it is at this point that the beautiful

20 technology that I have been dying to use runs out and we

21 resort to tried and tested methods, which is by

22 unfolding a large and unwieldy plan.

23 A. Yes, sir.

24 Q. Which you have?

25 A. No, sir.

 

 

60

 

1 Q. Oh, dear. One will be provided to you now. (Handed)

2 Now, I don't think we can have it on at the same

3 time. Can we also call up RNI-834-222 (displayed)? I'm

4 just going to ask for that to be highlighted.

5 Now, if we just take a moment to look at this, we

6 can all see on the left side here Castor Bay Road,

7 Ashford Grange; yes? And at the bottom, Lake Street;

8 yes?

9 A. Yes, sir.

10 Q. Just running down there to Ashford Grange, if you look

11 where I'm pointing?

12 A. Yes, I have it.

13 Q. And we have Lake Street at the bottom here?

14 A. Yes, sir.

15 Q. And in the middle of the page we have something that

16 says "Static heli block B"; yes?

17 A. We have, sir, over St Coleman's cemetery.

18 Q. So you have familiarised yourself with that. I'm just

19 going to run through your statement as quickly as I can,

20 because that describes where you went. Halfway down,

21 you say:

22 "I have marked on this map and signed it. We

23 entered the area via the Castor Bay Road and took up a

24 static position at St Coleman's cemetery, which I have

25 marked B on the map."

 

 

61

 

1 Just pause there so everyone can follow what I'm

2 saying. Yes:

3 "I examined the area around number [blank] Lake

4 Street with binoculars."

5 Again, just pausing, a point worthy of note is that

6 the distance -- how far would you say the distance was

7 from B and Lake Street, roughly?

8 A. About 700 metres, sir.

9 Q. So certainly from my impression, it is not as far as it

10 looks using the map:

11 "There was a gold coloured car parked outside the

12 address given. We flew round a circular route observing

13 the target from every angle. I have marked the target

14 area A."

15 We can see that:

16 "There was nothing suspicious at that point. I did

17 however, see a large white van pass number [blob]

18 Lake Street towards Antrim Road. Most Sunday night

19 traffic is made up of cars and the white van was out of

20 place. I didn't take any further interest in this van.

21 We looped around the estate following the North Circular

22 Road back to the graveyard, and remained static."

23 You will recall the map I have just shown you that

24 shows that --

25 A. Yes, sir.

 

 

62

 

1 Q. -- it is not really a circle, but it almost is:

2 "A group of youths appeared at the junction of

3 Levin Road and Victoria Street, which I have marked C."

4 Which we can see in the bottom left-hand corner. Do

5 you have that?

6 A. I have, sir.

7 Q. "I observed three suspicious youths entering a garage at

8 Sperrin Park I have marked the map D at this point ..."

9 Which is in the middle of the map here?

10 A. I have that, sir.

11 Q. "They moved between here and the waste ground at the

12 community centre."

13 If we just move down a little bit, about six or

14 eight lines, we can read on where you say:

15 "We flew to Aldergrove, and after refuelling

16 returned to our task in Kilwilke at 19.25 hours. I have

17 marked the map E where the car was alight and activity

18 had increased prior to our departure. To observe this

19 location, we had manoeuvred the helicopter to the

20 playing fields to obtain a clearer view. I have marked

21 this static position F on the map."

22 So that's on the left-hand side here.

23 So we have got your first static position over the

24 cemetery and the second one over the playing fields;

25 yes?

 

 

63

 

1 A. Yes, sir.

2 Q. "On our return I observed youths near a skip acting

3 suspiciously and doing something at a garden shed.

4 I marked this area G on the map. I now saw six youths

5 on the football clubhouse roof, which I've marked H on

6 the map."

7 Which we have, and that's towards the bottom left of

8 the map:

9 "They appeared to be removing something."

10 So if we could then turn over the page and highlight

11 that, please:

12 "I've performed duty in this area for over a year,

13 and Sunday nights are normally relatively quiet.

14 Everything seemed to be interlinked or orchestrated.

15 Cars were being stoned at the junction of Lake Street

16 and Victoria Street on the map, where I have marked C."

17 We can see "C" at the bottom of the page towards the

18 left, I hope:

19 "We flew and checked out the alleyway between

20 Lake Street and Kilwilke Road. At the finish of our

21 observations I was satisfied this was a situation being

22 orchestrated to draw security forces into the area for

23 some purpose."

24 Yes?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

64

 

1 Q. "Prior to this I didn't know much about Rosemary Nelson

2 and definitely had no idea where she lived. I can now

3 state that having found out where she lives from the TV

4 report and the explosion the following day, that the

5 helicopter had overflown her area on numerous occasions

6 that night. Gazelle 4 returned to Mahon Road base and

7 left me off at one minute past eight, and I then made my

8 report to the operations officer."

9 I'm sorry, that was a whistle stop tour through what

10 you recollect.

11 A. Yes, sir.

12 Q. I presume there is nothing you would like to alter from

13 what was a recollection in a statement given much nearer

14 to the time?

15 A. No, sir, there is not.

16 THE CHAIRMAN: When you say you made your report to the

17 operations officer, is that speaking to him or a written

18 report?

19 A. Sir, I went into the ops room for a face-to-face brief

20 with the ops officer.

21 THE CHAIRMAN: Does he take notes of what you say to him?

22 A. No, he doesn't. He doesn't take notes, sir.

23 THE CHAIRMAN: But anything you saw and recorded when you

24 were up in the air, would that be taken down by

25 a watch keeper?

 

 

65

 

1 A. Sir, that is running commentary of all those incidents

2 ongoing from the helicopter.

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.

4 A. They would have been put down on the occurrence book as

5 it happened in real time.

6 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, thank you.

7 MR SAVILL: Just a very small point, I'm told that the

8 reference to not knowing the pilot and the Commander was

9 a reference to this flight.

10 A. Okay, sir, I apologise.

11 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: And the operations officer you are

12 referring to there, reporting back to, that's A660,

13 is it?

14 A. It is, sir.

15 MR SAVILL: Thank you. So we have seen in broad overview

16 where you went and what you did. Let me just descend to

17 a little bit of detail.

18 From what you have said about your ability to use

19 binoculars from the cemetery to look at Lake Street, I

20 presume, or I think I'm right in saying, that anywhere

21 on the circuit that you travelled, you would have been

22 able, either with or without binoculars, to have a good

23 view of what was going on on the ground?

24 A. Yes, sir, because you were flying at, if I can remember,

25 not lower than 1,000 feet.

 

 

66

 

1 Q. Coming back to the Chairman's much earlier question, on

2 this sort of occasion at this time of night on this

3 circuit, what could you see on the ground: number

4 plates, faces or colours of cars?

5 A. To be honest, sir, you wouldn't have seen faces or

6 number plates because you would have been flying high

7 over the estate to avoid the threat of small arms fire.

8 Q. So you might have been able to see someone wearing a red

9 jumper, perhaps?

10 A. Yes, you would.

11 Q. You wouldn't be able to say man or woman?

12 A. You possibly could distinguish male or female.

13 Q. Right, depending on a number of factors. But colours of

14 cars and distinguishing cars from lorries and vans, no

15 problem?

16 A. No problem. You would have no problem distinguishing

17 colours whatsoever because the binos were colour.

18 Q. Thank you. As far as the video facility was concerned,

19 was that as good as you with a pair of binoculars?

20 A. Yes, it would have been. It would have been a very,

21 very good -- because the camera on board, he could have

22 brought it in closer, five times magnification or

23 whatever.

24 Q. So as good if not better?

25 A. It would have been better.

 

 

67

 

1 Q. Again, in relation to this evening and this flight, can

2 you recollect whether you or anybody else discussed or

3 ordered, if you like, video recording?

4 A. No, sir, because, to be honest with you, if you would

5 have went to that situation, you would have been

6 videoing every day of the week.

7 Q. That was going to be my next question. How out of the

8 ordinary was what we have just run through in terms of

9 your service --

10 A. Well, on a Sunday night it was relatively quiet, but

11 every other night through the week it was a bun fight for

12 everybody.

13 Q. And who would you, the LO, have been communicating with

14 whilst you were on this circuit?

15 A. I would have been talking to the ops officer and back to

16 the ops room on the ground.

17 Q. As well as the pilot and the Commander, or just the

18 Commander?

19 A. The pilot and the Commander would have been talking to

20 the ops officer too, giving their input.

21 Q. And how easy, to use that word, would it have been for

22 you to have dictated on this occasion the course and

23 activities of the helicopter?

24 A. Yes, I could have advised the chopper -- the helicopter

25 pilot, the air frame pilot, "Can we go and look at the

 

 

68

 

1 skip again? Can we go and look at the youths in the

2 place again?" We just would have kept moving back and

3 forward looking at everybody to see what was going on.

4 Q. And that would also, I presume, be applicable to the use

5 of the video recording facility?

6 A. Yes, it would have been.

7 Q. And if we can call up RNI-840-184, please (displayed),

8 and if we could just highlight the last sentence of

9 paragraph 35:

10 "I do not know what would have happened to any tapes

11 ..."

12 Which I will come to in a moment:

13 "... or whether anything was recorded."

14 So you have no recollection as to whether anything

15 was recorded?

16 A. No, sir, I don't.

17 Q. But as you have said to us, you would have probably run

18 out of video tapes because it was so commonplace?

19 A. You would have run out of video tapes.

20 Q. Now, when you returned to base -- you have already told

21 us you went and made your report -- do you have any

22 recollection as to whether or not you were offered

23 a tape from the helicopter?

24 A. No, sir, I can categorically deny now that I was offered

25 no tape as I do not have the authority to take a tape

 

 

69

 

1 from an air frame.

2 Q. There is quite a lot there. I can categorically deny

3 now?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Why now as opposed to any time?

6 A. Because -- I can say at any time that I would not

7 receive a tape from an aircraft because I do not have

8 the authority to remove tape from an aircraft.

9 Q. Right. On this occasion, therefore, you say you

10 did not?

11 A. No.

12 Q. And in fact you would have been surprised if you had

13 been offered it?

14 A. I would have been very, very surprised.

15 Q. Do you have any recollection of any discussion once you

16 had landed about the tape?

17 A. No, no recollection whatsoever, sir.

18 Q. No. Now, moving on to Gazelle 6, yes, that is a similar

19 flight in that it is a Gazelle helicopter, but

20 a different crew, different craft, but on the same

21 night.

22 Now, if we could again call up what I have described

23 as the Inquiry's security force activity map, please

24 (displayed), we can see on there, when we go forward, I

25 think, in the animation -- there we are -- in orange,

 

 

70

 

1 the Gazelle 6 flight between 23.25 and 23.50 hours on

2 the same night. Can you see that?

3 A. I can, sir.

4 Q. That, as I say, is an orange dot and it is, I suppose,

5 a similar shape, but it is a tighter -- I'm not going to

6 say circle -- a tighter circuit around the estate as

7 opposed to being a bit wider as had been the case

8 beforehand?

9 A. It is, sir.

10 Q. Can you remember who told you to act as the LO on this

11 flight?

12 A. It was A660, sir, himself.

13 Q. Thank you. And can you recollect how that came about?

14 A. Because I had been on the earlier flight and had seen

15 what was going on.

16 Q. Right.

17 A. So he sent me up because I knew exactly what was going

18 on in the area. Plus I was an LO for that day.

19 Q. Did it come about in the same way: he telephoned you and

20 said, "We need you to go and do this"?

21 A. Yes, sir. It was an additional flight put in just to go

22 and check that the area was quiet.

23 Q. Did it come as a surprise to you that there had to be

24 another flight?

25 A. Yes, in a certain way, yes, sir, but in a certain way,

 

 

71

 

1 no. We had to go back and look to see what was

2 happening after we left.

3 Q. So why was it, as you say, in a certain way a surprise?

4 A. Personally myself I would have just left it because they

5 would have burnt themselves out and I would have went to

6 my bed, but the police dictated that we had to go back

7 and look at it to see what the activity was.

8 Q. Because I think I'm right in saying that once you had

9 come back from your first sortie, your view was very

10 much as you had expressed: it will burn itself out --

11 A. It will burn itself out if --

12 Q. -- there is no need to send in troops, it's probably a

13 come-on?

14 A. If troops go there, they're going to go into a world of

15 pain that involves bricks, blast bombs.

16 Q. So your view essentially, when you expressed surprise,

17 was, "Fair enough, but personally I couldn't see the

18 point?"

19 A. I wouldn't say I didn't see the point. We had to go

20 back and look and see if it was still ongoing.

21 Q. I know that A660, as it were, ordered you to do it?

22 A. Yes, sir.

23 Q. But are you aware whether this was of his own volition

24 or it had been a request made by the police or the Army?

25 A. If I'm rightly aware, sir, it was made by the duty

 

 

72

 

1 inspector in Lurgan police station, if I'm rightly aware

2 of that.

3 Q. I don't want you to say it, but do you recollect that

4 person's name?

5 A. No, sir, I do not.

6 Q. But whoever was in that job at that time, that's who you

7 say it was, do you?

8 A. Yes, sir.

9 Q. Could we just call up RNI-834-227, please (displayed)

10 and highlight the second half of that page? Five lines

11 down from the stop:

12 "I now recall that I was in the QRF room attached to

13 the guard room when a phone call was received from the

14 operations room. The effect of the telephone call was

15 that I was required to join a helicopter crew and to

16 check the Lurgan area to see what was happening with

17 regard to earlier incidents."

18 Yes?

19 A. Yes, sir.

20 Q. So you have there set out -- and this is a statement,

21 7 February 2000 -- how it came about?

22 A. Yes, sir.

23 Q. But -- and don't think I'm making any criticism of

24 you -- this was the first time that you had mentioned

25 this second flight?

 

 

73

 

1 A. It is, sir, yes.

2 Q. And if we look four lines down, you say:

3 "I simply forgot to mention this fact in my previous

4 statement. It was just an oversight."

5 A. It was, sir.

6 Q. Yes, I'm not making any criticism of it. I'm just

7 looking at the facts as we know them to be. So some

8 time after all this you revealed that there was a second

9 flight that we have looked at in a little detail.

10 Now, would there have been any reason other than

11 forgetfulness for you to have not told anyone about the

12 flight? I'm not suggesting a sinister reason. Was it

13 a covert flight, for example?

14 A. No, sir, it wasn't a covert flight. It was just simply

15 sir, the helicopter went up, took a look and come back.

16 That was basically it. The helicopter was deployed over

17 the Lurgan area for about 10/15 minutes, went to look

18 and see what was going on and then came back. I simply

19 overlooked -- I never even thought of mentioning to the

20 police at that time that I was on the second flight

21 until the police came back to me with evidence.

22 Q. Was there any difference, in your view, in this second

23 flight to the first flight in terms of manner, method,

24 what would be recorded, radio transmissions and so on?

25 A. No, sir, exact same flight only different Gazelle,

 

 

74

 

1 different pilots.

2 Q. And as we know, this flight was not in fact recorded in

3 the operations log?

4 A. I do not know whether it was or was not, sir.

5 Q. That being the case -- as I say to you, it wasn't -- can

6 you think of any reason, other than error, why that

7 might be the case?

8 A. I don't understand why it wasn't, sir.

9 Q. No.

10 A. I simply don't understand why it wasn't, unless --

11 Q. That makes two of us --

12 A. -- unless --

13 Q. Sorry for interrupting you. Might it have been because

14 it was a continuation of the first flight?

15 A. Probably. It could have been. Yes, it could have been.

16 Q. Now, you say it could have been. Is that from your past

17 experience that that is the case or are you --

18 A. Well, usually every flight is logged in and out, sir,

19 unless we have to go back and look at something, as you

20 say. But there could be a perfect explanation to this

21 if people would please listen. And the girl sitting in

22 the ops room is there for 24 hours.

23 Q. The what sitting in the ops room?

24 A. The girl that writes down everything that happens. That

25 girl could have been away to the toilet, that girl could

 

 

75

 

1 have been making a cup of tea. It could have been the

2 ops officers that answered that radio. That is

3 a perfect explanation. That's a perfect explanation.

4 It could be a the girl could be away to the toilet, she

5 could be away making a cup of tea and the ops officer

6 could have answered the radio.

7 THE CHAIRMAN: But when you were up in the air over

8 Lurgan --

9 A. Yes, sir.

10 THE CHAIRMAN: -- you were sending a report back?

11 A. Yes.

12 THE CHAIRMAN: In real time, as you put it?

13 A. Yes, I was.

14 THE CHAIRMAN: And that would go down in the occurrence

15 book, would it?

16 A. It would, sir.

17 THE CHAIRMAN: And that's a separate book, is it, from the

18 other document you have just mentioned?

19 A. No, sir, the occurrence book is continuously wrote on.

20 Whenever activity happens, radio traffic is written down

21 in the occurrence book. But, as I said, if the girl was

22 away to the toilet, the ops officer might have forgot to

23 tell her that the Gazelle was inbound.

24 THE CHAIRMAN: Right.

25 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Can you remind us, Mr Savill, four

 

 

76

 

1 lines up, the document marked D2447?

2 MR SAVILL: I'm just coming to that.

3 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Okay.

4 MR SAVILL: If you will just bear with me. I'm about to do

5 that.

6 Before I do, can I just ask you, so we are

7 absolutely clear, what were from start to finish the

8 opportunities and methods of making a record of this

9 flight from start to finish?

10 A. It was handwritten, sir.

11 Q. So start at the beginning. Somebody says to the duty

12 inspector, "I want the helicopter to go up again"?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Is there a record made of that?

15 A. I'm not aware of that. That could be a word-for-word

16 conversation between two officers.

17 Q. Right.

18 A. And the officer could go up, get on to the squawk box

19 and request a helicopter for the Lurgan area.

20 Q. I'm sorry, just help me with what the squawk box is?

21 A. Sorry. Get on to the radio and ask for a helicopter to

22 assist in something over the Lurgan area. It would be

23 written down up there and recorded up there.

24 Q. Up where?

25 A. Up in Aldergrove.

 

 

77

 

1 Q. Right.

2 A. Then, when the helicopter arrived, it would be written

3 down in the occurrence log that the helicopter has now

4 arrived at Mahon Road camp.

5 Q. Who would write that down?

6 A. The duty signaller.

7 Q. Right.

8 A. Then when the helicopter is closed town, the helicopter

9 is taken off again, it would be said that the helicopter

10 was taken off from whatever call sign, Mahon Road, it

11 would be written down again.

12 Q. Yes.

13 A. And so on.

14 Q. By the operations room?

15 A. By the operations room.

16 Q. And -- we have touched on this with the Chairman, I

17 think -- the ongoing instruction, if you like, and

18 conversation, points of interest, would be noted while

19 you were up in the air?

20 A. Yes, they would.

21 Q. And presumably there would be a reverse on the way back

22 and coming back and sitting down and taking off again,

23 of that; yes?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Now, you have tried very helpfully to tell us that

 

 

78

 

1 someone may have been in the loo and may not have made

2 a note; yes?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. But there is quite an extended period of information

5 coming in that you told us about that would be noted.

6 So it would be a long trip to the loo to miss all of

7 that, would it not?

8 A. Not really, sir, because if you -- you have got to

9 understand, Portadown and Lurgan are seven mile apart.

10 If you land in Mahon Road, take your LO on board, fly

11 seven mile, do what you have to do, i.e. the Kilwilke

12 Estate, and fly back and dropped off again, you are only

13 talking a 15-minute period.

14 Q. I will not call it up, but it's a 25-minute period on

15 the map that we have shown you?

16 A. I honestly can't understand why it wasn't written down.

17 I don't know. I cannot answer that question.

18 THE CHAIRMAN: You mentioned that you had your own notebook

19 in relation to the earlier flight, when you checked the

20 times. Would you have written it in your own notebook,

21 the times when you went aloft and when you returned?

22 A. Yes, you would have, sir.

23 Q. What happened to that notebook? Was it your own private

24 notebook or was it an Army notebook, which you had to

25 put in somewhere when you came off duty, or what?

 

 

79

 

1 A. It was an issued notebook that was handed in every

2 morning with your weapon when you come off duty, and

3 handed back out with your weapon.

4 THE CHAIRMAN: So that notebook should have had a record of

5 both flights 1in it.

6 A. Yes, it should, sir.

7 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

8 MR SAVILL: Just so I'm clear -- I will probably put my foot

9 it in again -- there is a watch keeper’s log, and is that

10 the same as the occurrence log?

11 A. Yes, it is, sir.

12 Q. Thank goodness for that, otherwise I would have been

13 down another path. So they are one and the same thing.

14 Now, just so I'm clear and fair to you about this,

15 there is absolutely no evidence to suggest any

16 wrongdoing on your part. Do you understand what I'm

17 saying?

18 A. I totally understand, sir.

19 Q. So all I'm seeking to do at this particular moment is

20 give you an opportunity to respond to what could be

21 described as speculation?

22 A. Sir.

23 Q. So I'm not suggesting that you have done anything wrong,

24 but what would your response be to speculation, first of

25 all dealing with Gazelle 4, that perhaps the video

 

 

80

 

1 camera recorded something it shouldn't have done and, as

2 a result, the tape was mysteriously lost? Do you have

3 anything to comment on that?

4 A. Sir, I cannot comment on that because I have no

5 knowledge of that.

6 Q. Fair enough. Moving on to this most recent discussion

7 we have had about Gazelle 6, it would appear that

8 certainly in a certain place there was no record of this

9 flight; yes?

10 A. Yes, sir.

11 Q. And again, speculation may be that someone on board this

12 flight had ulterior motives and may in some way have

13 assisted in the planting of the devices underneath

14 Mrs Nelson's car; yes?

15 A. I understand what you are saying, sir.

16 Q. And again, I'm, just in fairness to you -- I hope you

17 understand why I'm doing it --

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. -- giving you an opportunity today to give your opinion

20 or your view on that.

21 A. If that's the case, sir, reference to Gazelle -- the

22 Gazelle later on, it means three people would have had

23 to be involved, and helicopters just don't land or go

24 about places. They don't do it because air traffic

25 control monitor helicopters very, very, very closely in

 

 

81

 

1 Northern Ireland.

2 Q. But what about, to explore that a little bit, if it had

3 just been some kind of assistance on the route that the

4 helicopter took?

5 A. What was the helicopter going to do, sir?

6 Q. Well, I don't know. I'm asking you. Some form of

7 spotter, for example, in the helicopter?

8 A. And how was it going to spot for someone?

9 Q. Using binoculars.

10 A. Using binoculars. It is impossible sir. It is sheer

11 speculation. People has got to understand, understand,

12 what this is about. Working in the military, this just

13 does not happen.

14 Q. I'm not going to go into it in any more detail, but

15 I hope you understand --

16 A. I understand, sir, exactly what you are saying.

17 Q. -- once and for all your views on that.

18 Now, finally, I hope, can I just ask for RNI-406-274

19 to be called up (displayed)? This is in response to the

20 Panel's query about a document. This is the radio log

21 between Belfast Aldergrove ATL approach. It gives the

22 frequency, from 1500 hours, 14 March 1999 to

23 13.30 hours, 15 March 1999; yes? Can you see that in

24 the middle of the page? "Belfast Aldergrove", can you

25 see that under "Other persons present"? It is written

 

 

82

 

1 in handwriting.

2 A. Myself, sir?

3 Q. Yes.

4 A. Oh, sorry.

5 Q. Can you just see that?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Right. We can see in the left-hand side column, times.

8 We can see in person speaking who is speaking and we can

9 see the text. I'm going to turn the page, please, to

10 RNI-406-277, please (displayed)? No. Just bear with me

11 for one moment. (Pause)

12 RNI-406-275 (displayed)? Yes, there we are. That's

13 page number 22, you can see in the top right-hand

14 corner. So we have missed time and we have come up to

15 23.24 hours; yes? Can you see that in the top left-hand

16 corner?

17 A. Yes, sir, I can.

18 Q. That's there for us all to see and some of it is

19 relevant and some of it isn't. Taking it as quickly as

20 I can, this is radio traffic between Gazelle 6 and the

21 ground; yes?

22 A. Yes, that's air traffic control Aldergrove.

23 Q. Yes, exactly. And we can see at 23.24, Aldergrove,

24 Hawk 364. That Hawk 364 is a call sign of an individual

25 pilot or commander on the helicopter; yes?

 

 

83

 

1 A. I'm not aware, sir. I thought it was the helicopter's

2 call sign itself.

3 Q. No, it is an individual. So we have approach, Hawk 364

4 approach, and then, significantly for this purpose, at

5 23.25:

6 "Hawk 364, a Gazelle, three persons on board, just

7 lifted from Portadown. I would like to operate in the

8 Lurgan area, not above 2,000 feet with a flight

9 information service."

10 That then, we can read for ourselves, follows down

11 the page until we get to 23.37:

12 "Hawk 364 is complete over Lurgan and changing to en

13 route.

14 "23.37 approach Hawk 364.

15 "Roger, good night.

16 "Good night, Hawk 364."

17 Then we can see at 23.53:

18 "Aldergrove approach. Hawk 364 with Foxtrot. 364."

19 Then, again, significantly at 23.53:

20 "364. A Gazelle, now two persons on board, just to

21 the north of Lurgan."

22 I'm just showing you that because that was shown to

23 you by the MIT, the Murder Investigation Team?

24 A. It was, sir.

25 Q. And that's the document that Sir Anthony Burden

 

 

84

 

1 mentioned a moment ago that prompted your recollection

2 of that Gazelle 6 flight. And we can see that in

3 between 23.25 and 23.53, you are dropped off?

4 A. I am, sir.

5 Q. Calling up RNI-840-182, please (displayed) -- I'm sorry,

6 could we just go to RNI-840-171 because it is where the

7 paragraph begins (displayed)? Don't highlight, but we

8 can all see the last few lines at the bottom:

9 "I came off duty at 1 am."

10 Then go over the page, please. And if we just look

11 at this last section, it says:

12 "And slept until 3 am, whereupon I received a call

13 to check out the estate once again. 30 minutes later

14 I came off duty again, stood down and finished QRF at

15 9 am."

16 I just wanted to be clear with you. Am

17 I misunderstanding because this tends to suggest that

18 you had Gazelle 4, Gazelle 6 and then a call at 3 am as

19 well, or are you just wrong on the times?

20 A. I'm probably wrong on the times, sir.

21 Q. Right.

22 A. I probably am wrong on the times.

23 Q. So the recollection you have got is Gazelle 4 back to

24 base, and then out you go again on Gazelle 6 and that's

25 the end of it?

 

 

85

 

1 A. That's the end of it, sir.

2 Q. Right. Now, at this stage we always say to witnesses at

3 the Inquiry who come to give their evidence is there

4 anything they, and you in particular, would like to add

5 or expand upon that I haven't asked you about today

6 because now is your chance to do that?

7 A. Nothing at all, sir.

8 Q. No. Thank you very much.

9 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Mr Savill, you jumped in there rather

10 swiftly. Could we go back to the second page reference

11 there, please, to that Aldergrove record?

12 MR SAVILL: Certainly. Just bear with me for one second.

13 RNI-406-275 (displayed).

14 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: The bottom of the page, 23.54 hours,

15 where there is the call from the helicopter, could you

16 just enquire around that, please? I mean, that doesn't

17 say where you were dropped off. Where were you dropped

18 off?

19 A. I was dropped off back at Mahon Road, sir.

20 MR SAVILL: Is it unusual that it doesn't say "dropping off

21 at Mahon Road"?

22 A. No, sir, it is not unusual.

23 Q. Why not?

24 A. That's air traffic control conversation to Hawk 364.

25 That's probably the way they talk because they have that

 

 

86

 

1 many people landing and taking off at Aldergrove.

2 Q. Can I just ignore you just for one moment.

3 We have an aircraftman coming as the next witness.

4 I didn't, deliberately, try and burden this witness with

5 explaining necessarily the technicalities of that radio

6 traffic, but I'm happy to help you as much as I can,

7 sir.

8 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: There is a point for me. The witness

9 has helped us by saying where he was dropped off, but

10 that's not what this message says. It says that this

11 helicopter is now just north of Lurgan again with only

12 two persons on board.

13 MR SAVILL: Yes. One has to accept that that isn't

14 a detailed blow-by-blow account. I have shown it to the

15 witness first of all because that was the document which

16 prompted his recollection when shown to him by the

17 police officers when he gave his statement, and secondly

18 to try and inform or refresh his memory as to what

19 actually went on. But I have to accept it doesn't give

20 the detail in writing, no.

21 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: You take my point, he is not reporting

22 here landing at Portadown, one passenger alighting.

23 MR SAVILL: No.

24 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Your recollection is you definitely

25 were dropped back at Mahon Road?

 

 

87

 

1 A. I definitely was dropped at Mahon Road, sir.

2 Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN

3 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Thank you. While I'm speaking, can

4 I just ask you, refer you to the cipher list again,

5 A660. You see the name of the officer there, the ops

6 officer?

7 A. Yes, sir.

8 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Can I ask you, did you know that

9 officer personally?

10 A. I did, yes, sir.

11 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Was it an acquaintance that you made

12 through the military?

13 A. It was, yes, sir.

14 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: And that was the only way that you came

15 to know --

16 A. That was the only way I knew him. He was my ops

17 officer.

18 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Right. How long had you worked with

19 him?

20 A. Since I moved to Mahon Road, sir, about 1997.

21 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: So how long would that --

22 A. That would have been maybe over a year.

23 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: 1997?

24 A. It was 1997 or 1998 I moved to Mahon Road. He was the

25 ops officer.

 

 

88

 

1 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: What sort of a working relationship

2 would you form with an officer of that position? Would

3 it be a daily contact?

4 A. Yes, sir. If you are on duty, you would speak to the

5 ops officer regularly when you go in to get briefs. He

6 would bid you good morning, good evening.

7 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Okay, thank you.

8 Questions by DAME VALERIE STRACHAN

9 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Can I just ask you, I'm not sure how

10 much you remember of what you saw on the second flight,

11 the Gazelle 6 flight.

12 A. Yes, ma'am.

13 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Can you remember what you saw? Was

14 that much going on, was there nothing going on at that

15 point?

16 A. As I marked out on the map which I used on the night,

17 the only thing was left was E, the burned out vehicle.

18 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: And you would have said that as you

19 were reporting back to ops at the time?

20 A. Not necessarily, ma'am, because there was nothing of

21 significance to report over the net. Just go back and

22 say, "There is a burned out vehicle, area is quiet,

23 nothing to report".

24 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Right. But you would have said the

25 area is quiet, at some point?

 

 

89

 

1 A. Yes, I would have.

2 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Thank you very much. Sorry, one

3 more question: The circuit was a tighter circuit?

4 A. It was, ma'am.

5 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: But I was slightly surprised to

6 realise from your earlier comments how far you could see

7 from the helicopter. Even from that tighter circuit you

8 would have been able to see right out to where you now

9 know that Rosemary Nelson lived?

10 A. No, ma'am, we would not because the thermal imaging gear

11 would not look out that far.

12 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: How far would that look?

13 A. Again, ma'am, you would need to get an expert in on the

14 thermal imaging camera.

15 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Thank you.

16 Questions by THE CHAIRMAN

17 THE CHAIRMAN: When you made your statement to the police on

18 22 April 1999 and recorded the actual times, you said

19 that was from in your notebook; is that right?

20 A. That would either have been the notebook, sir, or used

21 off the log.

22 THE CHAIRMAN: So the notebook was in existence on 22 April,

23 you would have expected?

24 A. The notebooks were in existence on the 22nd. They would

25 have been in existence maybe since -- oh goodness, I

 

 

90

 

1 couldn't honestly tell you. Northern Ireland notebook

2 was in existence then.

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Did you have one notebook which you used

4 until it was full up, or did you get a fresh notebook

5 every time you came on duty?

6 A. No, sir, you used the one notebook. Your notebook

7 corresponded with the butt number of your rifle and that

8 was your notebook number.

9 THE CHAIRMAN: And you used it until it was full --

10 A. You used it until it was full and then you were issued

11 with another one and the first was archived.

12 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much. Nothing else?

13 Before the witness leaves, the Video Engineer, would

14 you please confirm that all the cameras have been

15 switched off?

16 THE VIDEO ENGINEER: Yes, sir, they have.

17 THE CHAIRMAN: Please escort the witness out. Thank you

18 very much for coming to give evidence.

19 We will adjourn for a short time. How long? We

20 will have a ten-minute break now.

21 (4.17 pm)

22 (Short break)

23 (4.30 pm)

24 MR PAUL WAKEHAM (sworn)

25 Questions by MR SAVILL

 

 

91

 

1 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Savill?

2 MR SAVILL: Thank you. Could you give us your full name,

3 please?

4 A. Mr Paul Alan Wakeham.

5 Q. Thank you. Before I look at your statement, can I offer

6 an apology because I think you have probably been kept

7 waiting rather longer than you expected. Please accept

8 that from me.

9 RNI-842-102 is the first page of your statement to

10 the Inquiry (displayed). If we go to the last page,

11 20 March 2008, that's your signature?

12 A. It is.

13 Q. Thank you very much. Taking it as briefly as I can,

14 you joined the Army in 1938 as a mechanic, in fact?

15 A. Correct.

16 Q. But subsequently you decided to take advanced training

17 and become a pilot?

18 A. Correct.

19 Q. And in February 1999 you were assigned to

20 Northern Ireland for a six-month tour?

21 A. Yes, correct.

22 Q. And in fact you only did one flying tour, which was that

23 of Northern Ireland, and you left the Army

24 in January 2005?

25 A. Correct.

 

 

92

 

1 Q. So it was your first and only tour of Northern Ireland.

2 Had you had a flying tour before that or was it

3 an initial posting?

4 A. I was posted from the pilot's course -- posted to

5 Germany. That was the only flying tour of

6 Northern Ireland I did. I also did other tours in --

7 not tours, but exercise in New Zealand, Canada,

8 et cetera.

9 Q. Right. Now, just tell us, please, give us a flavour for

10 what it involved, being a pilot at this time, I think

11 based at Aldergrove flying -- was it only the Gazelle 4

12 or was it other aircraft?

13 A. No, we were split between Gazelle 3, 4, 5 and 6 and 7

14 sometimes, but not often.

15 Q. Probably my fault. I meant the aircraft, a Gazelle?

16 A. Oh, yes, sorry. Only Gazelles.

17 Q. Only Gazelles. We are going to come to the different

18 numbers in a moment because they are a little

19 complicated, but just give us a flavour of what your

20 day-to-day role was. What did you get up to?

21 A. Depending on where you were based, which Gazelle you

22 were on.

23 Q. Let's perhaps look at the different Gazelles. Could we

24 go to RNI-842-102 (displayed) and highlight the bottom

25 paragraph, please? People may have been wondering why

 

 

93

 

1 we are talking about Gazelle 4 and so on and so forth,

2 and you tell us that Gazelle 1 and 2 were VIP

3 helicopters which were flown by a single pilot?

4 A. Correct.

5 Q. "I would ..."

6 Then we go over the page:

7 "... not have been allocated to either of their

8 flights. These flights were undertaken by aircraft

9 commanders and I was only a pilot."

10 Pausing there, the difference, please, between pilot

11 and commander?

12 A. Experience and also a physical air test by a qualified

13 instructor to progress them on to an aircraft commander.

14 Q. Stupid question from me: would the Commander ever fly

15 the helicopter when he was there with the pilot?

16 A. Yes, because they were dual control.

17 Q. But obviously in reality they had different jobs?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. What were they?

20 A. Primarily the pilot was there to fly and the aircraft

21 commander was there to do whatever the -- he was

22 ultimately responsible for the safety of the aircraft.

23 He was the one who signed for the aircraft, but also --

24 well, primarily his job was to -- up and above

25 operations which he had been briefed on.

 

 

94

 

1 Q. So putting it as simply as I can, it was a full-time job

2 flying the helicopter?

3 A. Correct.

4 Q. And there were lots of other things that it probably

5 would have been dangerous to ask the pilot to do at the

6 same time as flying the helicopter?

7 A. Absolutely.

8 Q. Right:

9 "Gazelle 3 was detailed to Belfast. Gazelle 4 was

10 detailed to Bessbrook in South Armagh and Gazelle 5 was

11 detailed to Enniskillen. I was often tasked to these

12 flights."

13 So Gazelle 3, 4 and 5. Gazelle 6, I think, was the

14 night time helicopter, which covered the whole Province

15 during the hours of the darkness. Pausing there, was

16 there anything about Gazelle 6 which made it the night

17 time helicopter?

18 A. Difference in aircraft, no.

19 Q. Or, indeed, equipment on board it?

20 A. Not as far as I'm aware, no.

21 Q. "Gazelle 7 performed exactly the same duties as

22 Gazelle 6 but during daylight hours. I can't recall the

23 exactly changeover times but you think that all these

24 helicopters, except for 1, 2 and 7, were equipped with

25 a video camera with thermal capability as standard.

 

 

95

 

1 This could be viewed through a video screen in the

2 cockpit of the helicopter."

3 We are going to come back to that in a moment, but

4 as far as your involvement with Gazelle 4 was concerned,

5 just to use that as an example, detailed to Bessbrook,

6 what sort of things would you be doing while you were

7 flying? What were you tasked to do?

8 A. Whilst at Bessbrook?

9 Q. Yes.

10 A. One of our tasks would be to overwatch the movements of

11 Post Office vans, those sort of general things, really.

12 Q. And there were things that you were, I presume, given as

13 pre-planning?

14 A. It would be -- those would be the pre-planned --

15 Q. They are operations, to use that word --

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. -- that you need to be involved in. So you would have

18 how much warning roughly of planned operations? Do you

19 know?

20 A. Of the normal everyday occurrences, you would probably

21 have about a week. Others would be on the day.

22 Q. Right. But there were also occasions, I think I'm right

23 in saying, when you would go on missions or sorties that

24 you had not known about up until, say, five or ten

25 minutes before the call came through?

 

 

96

 

1 A. Absolutely.

2 Q. And that would be to respond to incidents?

3 A. Correct.

4 Q. Bomb explosions, shootings, public disorder and so on?

5 A. Correct.

6 Q. And you would be flying the aircraft with your

7 commander?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. But sometimes, or perhaps more often than not -- you

10 tell me -- you would have an LO on board, a liaison

11 officer?

12 A. Yes. If you were called out to respond, then yes, you

13 would have an LO on board.

14 Q. Again, just for our assistance, please, what did the LO

15 bring to the aircraft when he or she came on board?

16 What knowledge did they bring to the --

17 A. Oh, knowledge?

18 Q. Yes.

19 A. It varied. It did vary.

20 Q. Let me put it this way: why did you need an LO?

21 A. Mainly because nine times out of ten we didn't even know

22 where we were going.

23 Q. This is something we have touched on already and it

24 sounds a strange thing to say, but it was pretty

25 primitive, the navigational systems?

 

 

97

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. And the LO could tell you where to go quicker than if

3 you were left to your own devices?

4 A. Quite possibly.

5 Q. Because it is a large area to cover?

6 A. Absolutely.

7 Q. And they were a local person who would know where such

8 and such a shop was or a cemetery or a road?

9 A. Correct.

10 Q. Is that fair to put it in that way?

11 A. Absolutely.

12 Q. Did you get to know liaison officers? Was it often the

13 same one?

14 A. No.

15 Q. So sometimes you would have someone you had seen before,

16 but more often than not it would be a different one.

17 Would that be fair?

18 A. That would be fair, yes.

19 Q. Now, how were you briefed, if at all, as regards

20 intelligence about what was going on in the Province on

21 the ground or, indeed, the air at that time?

22 A. We would have an overall intelligence brief, which was

23 very generalised, before our duty would commence. If

24 there was anything specific to the area we were going

25 to, then we would be briefed on that at the time.

 

 

98

 

1 Q. So what are we talking about? Weekly and daily

2 briefings --

3 A. Only daily.

4 Q. Sorry?

5 A. Only daily.

6 Q. So you would have a daily briefing?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Who would provide that for you?

9 A. It would have been the operations room at Aldergrove.

10 Q. Would the intelligence cell ever have briefed you or

11 would it have been just the operations room?

12 A. It would be just a member from the ops room who would

13 come down to us and brief us if anything was deemed that

14 we needed to know.

15 Q. Because, again, at the risk of stating the obvious, you

16 might have been off on leave and you might not have

17 known what had been going on?

18 A. It wasn't given to us as individuals, it was given to us

19 as a crew.

20 Q. As a crew certainly, and you appreciate, do you, the

21 difference between the intelligence cell and the

22 operations room?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. So you were never briefed by the intelligence cell?

25 A. The individuals used to come down to our briefing room.

 

 

99

 

1 I would not have known if they were from the actual

2 intelligence cell or the operations room.

3 Q. Right. As air crew, am I right in saying that you were

4 briefed on your own turf, to use that expression? You

5 didn't have to go to them. They came --

6 A. They came to us, yes.

7 Q. Do you say that you were briefed in detail about

8 individuals or was it really just very much more of an

9 overview?

10 A. It was very much of an overview.

11 Q. Now, do you recall at any of those meetings there being

12 any discussion of individual terrorists?

13 A. No.

14 Q. Do you remember Rosemary Nelson's name ever being

15 mentioned?

16 A. No.

17 Q. And do you recollect ever, either in the company of

18 police officers or military personnel or, indeed,

19 anybody else for that matter, there being comments made

20 about either lawyers representing paramilitaries or

21 Mrs Rosemary Nelson?

22 A. No.

23 Q. Either before or after her death?

24 A. No.

25 Q. No. Moving to a slightly different topic, no go areas,

 

 

100

 

1 out of bounds I think is the technical term --

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. -- what can you tell us about that? How were you made

4 aware of them?

5 A. We were -- that information was on a large map in the

6 operations room at Aldergrove. It was down to the

7 Aircraft Commander to update his map.

8 Q. His map?

9 A. His map. If any new out of bounds area had come to

10 light or had come, you know, into play during our time

11 of --

12 Q. I see. Obviously one had to have a certain degree of

13 authorisation to be on the base and in the operations

14 room?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. But what I'm seeking to say is there wasn't any

17 particular secrecy about out of bounds; in fact, the

18 opposite. There was a map with, was it a red marker

19 on it?

20 A. It was just coloured in red with timings when it was in

21 or out of bounds, if it went back into bounds with dates

22 and times and also a height.

23 Q. I was going to come on to that. It is not a horizontal.

24 It is vertical as well?

25 A. Absolutely.

 

 

101

 

1 Q. Were you ever given information or did you ask, "Why is

2 that out of bounds? Why can't we go? What is going on

3 there?"

4 A. We would never have been given that information.

5 Q. And would never ask?

6 A. No, it was a case of we are not to go there, or not to

7 overfly that area, so we didn't.

8 Q. Did you ever discover subsequent to a flight that there

9 was an out of bounds area that you hadn't been told

10 about?

11 A. To my knowledge, no.

12 Q. Did you ever hear anyone else mention such an

13 experience?

14 A. No.

15 Q. Now, we touched a moment ago on your notification in

16 advance of your shifts, if you like, when you were going

17 to be flying?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And I presume that obviously a factor involved in that

20 was the number of hours as pilots that you had

21 conducted. So you had to be very careful that that

22 tallied --

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. -- because you were not by law, I think I'm right in

25 saying, allowed to fly over a certain number of hours?

 

 

102

 

1 A. That's correct, yes.

2 Q. Consecutively?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Let me just ask you this: how hard would it be -- it is

5 a very large, broad question, I am afraid, but how hard

6 would it be, or easy, for there to be a flight of a

7 Gazelle helicopter that was unrecorded in any way?

8 A. Absolutely impossible.

9 Q. Thank you. Why would it be impossible? Just expand on

10 that, please.

11 A. Firstly, obviously, helicopters are not cheap. They

12 have to be refuelled. They have to be moved outside

13 from the hangar. You cannot, from Aldergrove, move

14 without an air traffic control clearance. At any time,

15 no matter where you are in Northern Ireland or anywhere

16 else in the world, you cannot move without air traffic

17 control knowledge.

18 Q. Just pausing there, we have got an image of

19 a camouflaged Army helicopter, but you were not -- some

20 may disagree -- flying in a war zone?

21 A. No.

22 Q. You were subject to civilian as well as military air

23 traffic control.

24 A. That's correct, yes.

25 Q. That's right. Sorry, I interrupted you. Please go on.

 

 

103

 

1 A. Well, it is just to, you know, quantify the fact that

2 you could not move, especially within UK aerospace,

3 without the knowledge of air traffic control or somebody

4 on the ground monitoring your flight.

5 Q. Now, perhaps reading too many books and watching too

6 many Hollywood films, let me ask you this: flying under

7 the radar so that you weren't picked up. Would that be

8 possible, to take off and not be detected?

9 A. No.

10 Q. Why not?

11 A. With modern radar, modern technology, that would be

12 virtually impossible.

13 Q. In March 1999?

14 A. Even in March 1999.

15 Q. And helicopters, as we have discussed, were deployed at

16 relatively short notice, so it would be presumably,

17 would it, difficult to arrange, as it were, to be on

18 a particular helicopter? You would know that you were

19 on duty?

20 A. Absolutely.

21 Q. You wouldn't know where you would be going?

22 A. No.

23 Q. And supposing you had arranged to be on a particular

24 helicopter doing a particular thing, that helicopter

25 might, because there had been an emergency above and

 

 

104

 

1 beyond what you were going to deal with that had taken

2 you elsewhere?

3 A. Sorry, can you ask the question again, please?

4 Q. It is an appallingly phrased question, I have just

5 realised that. You are on duty and suddenly you may be

6 called to take off and go somewhere in your helicopter?

7 A. Okay, yes.

8 Q. Supposing you had planned to be somewhere else --

9 A. Right.

10 Q. -- on that helicopter, hoping you would be called to

11 another incident, you couldn't plan that because you

12 couldn't, as it were, go off line. You were available

13 to be called out. Is that right?

14 A. That's correct, yes.

15 Q. And just tell us, how were decisions made or the

16 decision made for a helicopter to be deployed? How did

17 that start at the beginning and come through the chain

18 of command?

19 A. I was not aware -- I don't know where or how it used to

20 originate. However, the officer, the Army Air Corps

21 officer at each location in Northern Ireland would be

22 contacted. He would then contact the aircraft commander

23 whereupon he would go for a brief, and I would go out to

24 the helicopter and prepare it for flight.

25 Q. So you don't know who was at the bottom of the chain?

 

 

105

 

1 A. No.

2 Q. But in any event, I think it the aviation liaison

3 officer is the technical expression --

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. -- would okay, or not, the request for a helicopter?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. And would then choose or command, if you like, order,

8 the crew or commander to go off and undertake that

9 particular mission?

10 A. Absolutely, yes.

11 Q. What would you say the level of detail was in terms of

12 the briefing that you received?

13 A. Very, very brief. Very brief.

14 Q. You were going to go to such and such a place to look at

15 such and such a thing, but that was really --

16 A. That would be the absolute maximum.

17 Q. That would be a luxury?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And I think it is right to say that sometimes you would

20 not even get a briefing on the ground, would you? You

21 would take off and get one in the air?

22 A. Sometimes that did happen, yes.

23 Q. And who would radio that in?

24 A. It would be from the -- every outpost, if you like, had

25 a tower that was manned 24 hours a day, every day of the

 

 

106

 

1 year. And it would be relayed via radio from there.

2 Q. And sometimes -- you have touched on this -- you would

3 pick up an LO?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. And just so I'm clear, you would never have the luxury

6 of taking off initially with one?

7 A. No.

8 Q. Because you would be at your base?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. And he would be at his?

11 A. Correct.

12 Q. So you would have to divert to pick up an LO?

13 A. Correct.

14 Q. Were you, presumably, briefed on that before you took

15 off: you need an LO or you need to go and get one?

16 A. I personally wouldn't be as pilot. The aircraft

17 commander might have been briefed move to or fly to

18 wherever.

19 Q. Mahon Road, Portadown?

20 A. Absolutely. Pick up an LO and he will brief you from

21 there on.

22 Q. Now, we have touched on the involvement of different LOs

23 with you personally, where you saw them once or twice in

24 your tour. Are you able to shed any light on how

25 a particular LO came to be assigned or not?

 

 

107

 

1 A. I wouldn't have a clue, to be honest.

2 Q. No. But the LO, I hope I'm right in saying, was

3 a useful resource to have on board?

4 A. If -- certainly as in positioning-wise he would be, yes.

5 If he required an aircraft to be in a certain position,

6 then, yes.

7 Q. I don't want to embarrass you by saying some were better

8 than others, but what I'm saying is they would help you

9 in terms of navigation?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. And they were able to bring some local knowledge to the

12 situation that you were observing?

13 A. Rarely, rarely. The flow of information was very brief,

14 shall we say.

15 Q. Forgive me if I'm incorrect, but you seem not to be

16 showering praise on the LO?

17 A. No, no, no, no.

18 Q. What, then, was the benefit of having him on board?

19 A. Obviously he had his brief, he would let us know where

20 we were going. Once in the event area he would then

21 tell me how to position the aircraft so he could get

22 eyes on whatever he was looking at.

23 Q. Now, as far as the chain of command, if you like, in the

24 aircraft is concerned, obviously I understand the

25 Commander has the final say?

 

 

108

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. The pilot perhaps has the more current say because he is

3 actually flying the aircraft and may have to make split

4 second decisions. But as far as the LO was concerned,

5 what level of input was -- and I use this word -- he

6 allowed in terms of where you flew, what you did and how

7 you positioned yourself in the aircraft?

8 A. I would say it was more a request rather than an order

9 because my ultimate job was the safety of the aircraft

10 and the passengers -- that's wrong. The safety of the

11 aircraft when hands-on flying.

12 Q. So you are not going to do something that is going to

13 endanger the aircraft?

14 A. Correct.

15 Q. But equally, there would be occasions when, in the thick

16 of observation and the flying, you would really be

17 reacting quite happily and readily to the LO's request?

18 A. So long as it was within the aircraft's envelope, then

19 yes.

20 Q. Certainly. In terms of communication on board the

21 aircraft -- let's just look at that for the moment --

22 you three -- because there is the pilot, the Commander

23 and the LO --

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. -- had -- and I'm sorry again if I use the wrong

 

 

109

 

1 expression -- an intercom facility within the aircraft?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Was it possible for anyone to talk to anybody else on

4 the aircraft without the third person listening in?

5 A. The intercom was between all three through the headsets.

6 As far as I'm aware, all Gazelles are fitted with a mute

7 button, possibly. I don't know the exact -- what it is

8 called -- and the reason for this is the Gazelle is also

9 used for movement of VIPs, and if the VIP at the back

10 does not want the air crew to listen in to what he is

11 saying, then he can mute.

12 Q. I think we may have moved on a little bit to

13 communications outside the aircraft?

14 A. Right.

15 Q. I'll come to that. I'm just talking about

16 communications within the aircraft.

17 A. Sorry.

18 Q. So everything said on the intercom system was heard by

19 everybody?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. But you have helpfully told us -- and I think I have

22 noted a little bit of uncertainty -- there might, or

23 there was a way in which somebody could communicate with

24 the ground without the other two hearing, or not?

25 A. The Gazelle is fitted with a button for the rear

 

 

110

 

1 passengers to be able to mute a radio transmission, as

2 I stated. They are used for VIPs, and the reason for

3 that is in case the VIP does not want the air crew to

4 listen to what he had to say.

5 Q. So that's the reason for it?

6 A. Correct, yes.

7 Q. We have also, a moment ago, talked about certain

8 Gazelles which were VIP Gazelles?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Were they the only ones, though, that had that or did

11 all Gazelles --

12 A. As far as I'm aware, all Gazelles are fitted the same.

13 Q. Right. Again, forgive my ignorance, that is therefore

14 something that would enable the rear passenger, the LO

15 or whatever it was, to make a radio communication to the

16 ground?

17 A. Yes, he could, yes.

18 Q. I'm sorry, I'm just uncertain myself.

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. To any radio?

21 A. No, it would have to be the same type of radio and

22 obviously the same frequency.

23 Q. And again, forgive my ignorance, what sort of radio

24 would be needed to receive it?

25 A. As far as my memory recalls, it is the military VHF

 

 

111

 

1 radio.

2 Q. And again, help me, that is something that would be

3 carried by a patrol or would it be something that was in

4 the operations room because it was much bigger and more

5 powerful?

6 A. Either.

7 Q. Either?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Forgive me for the next question: What might, or was,

10 the possibility of using a mobile telephone in the rear

11 of a Gazelle?

12 A. None.

13 Q. Thank you.

14 A. None at all.

15 Q. Why was that? Why is that?

16 A. Firstly, it was part of our brief to any passengers

17 getting on board that any mobiles should be switched off

18 because they can interfere with the avionics, just as

19 any civilian aircraft, and as crew we were not allowed

20 to take mobiles with us.

21 Q. No. Now, just looking back at that, is that the case

22 really that even when you are rushing, you are picking

23 up an LO, someone you have seen before, who is part and

24 parcel of the Security Service, would you honestly say

25 to them every single time, as we hear on airlines,

 

 

112

 

1 "Please turn off your mobile telephone"?

2 A. Yes, that would be part of the brief. It was a standard

3 brief the aircraft commander gave to all passengers.

4 Q. Right. And again, I'm not mocking the rigour and

5 discipline of your training, far from it. I think what

6 you are saying to us is when you are flying an aircraft,

7 there is rigour and discipline?

8 A. Absolutely.

9 Q. Otherwise bad things can happen, and as a result you

10 would check with every person that got on board?

11 A. Absolutely.

12 Q. Could you see if somebody was in the rear seat?

13 A. Without actually looking back over your shoulder, no.

14 However, you can hear it on -- you know, through the

15 headsets if someone has got a phone on their person and

16 it is switched on.

17 Q. Oh, right. When you say hear it, it is a white noise?

18 A. Just as sometimes when you hear it, when an incoming

19 call is coming to a mobile near a radio, very, very

20 similar to that.

21 Q. I think we are all -- certainly when we are outside this

22 building -- familiar with that.

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. When the LO was in the rear of the helicopter, he would

25 quite ordinarily be in communication with people on the

 

 

113

 

1 ground, would he?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. And sometimes you would hear that?

4 A. Yes, yes.

5 Q. Did you ever encounter the situation where the LO muted

6 or didn't allow you to hear?

7 A. Very rarely, if I recall. No, not in Northern Ireland.

8 Q. And the LO, I think I'm right in saying, sat on the

9 starboard side of the aircraft behind the Commander?

10 A. To be honest, I cannot recall which side he sat.

11 Q. Okay. But it was a one-seat option?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Now, turning to recording facilities on a Gazelle

14 helicopter, we have seen a little bit in your statement

15 about that, but there were fitted video cameras?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Which had -- and I'm not an expert -- I don't think you

18 are either -- a fairly powerful zoom facility?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. And just so we are clear, the camera was on the outside

21 of the aircraft?

22 A. Correct.

23 Q. Inside, for the Commander's control --

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. -- was a pad or just -- just build a picture for us.

 

 

114

 

1 What was it?

2 A. In front of the Commander, there was an LCD screen,

3 which was foldable.

4 Q. Which was what, sorry?

5 A. Foldable away, for safety reasons. Forgive me, I cannot

6 remember what sort of operation -- how to switch it on

7 or off. I can't remember if it was on a handstick or

8 not.

9 Q. But it was VHS? It was a cassette system?

10 A. Correct, yes.

11 Q. And it was one of presumably a number of items of

12 equipment?

13 A. Absolutely.

14 Q. Lots of equipment. And so, therefore, physically the

15 Commander was the only one that could start and stop and

16 operate the video recorder?

17 A. Correct.

18 Q. Now, I use the word advisedly "physically" because he

19 could or she could be requested, technically by the LO,

20 I think I'm right in saying, to start recording?

21 A. Correct.

22 Q. Now, when the recording started, presumably the

23 Commander had a screen?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Is that right?

 

 

115

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. But nobody else did?

3 A. No.

4 Q. So the LO, or whoever it was, would have to say to the

5 Commander, using his own vision out of the helicopter,

6 "You see the car, move to the right of the car"?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. So it probably, possibly, was not a very exact science

9 because the person sometimes giving the directions, the

10 LO, wasn't actually able to see what was coming on the

11 screen and being recorded?

12 A. You would have to physically look over the Commander's

13 shoulder to see.

14 Q. Right. But presumably there were two brains in

15 operation here, so the LO would say to the Commander,

16 "Look, there is a car fire, get some footage of what is

17 going on around the car", and that would be the

18 discretion of the Commander?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Now, as far as the camera was concerned, it also had

21 thermal images?

22 A. Correct.

23 Q. And that, I think I'm right in saying, was automatic?

24 A. No, you had to switch it to thermal.

25 Q. Right. Now, again, how long is a piece of string, but

 

 

116

 

1 how dark did it have to be before you switched on the

2 thermal imaging?

3 A. The camera is very, very similar to the police cameras

4 which are fitted to their aircraft.

5 Q. I am afraid that doesn't help me.

6 A. Sorry, it will pick up thermal imagery during daylight

7 hours. It is not as clear --

8 Q. But what I'm saying is how dark does it have to get

9 before you are saying it is too dark really -- as the

10 human eye would perceive it?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. So you could video at 5 o'clock on a December afternoon,

13 but you would not get very much?

14 A. Absolutely.

15 Q. Right. And as far as a ground link was concerned, only

16 Pumas had the facility to give live feed to the ground?

17 A. Correct.

18 Q. Dealing with the theory of what would happen to

19 a recording once it had been made, let's just call up,

20 if we may, RNI-842-105 (displayed). Can we highlight

21 paragraph 12, please:

22 "If images were recorded, I think that the procedure

23 was to return the tape with your weapons, provided that

24 the tape had not been specifically requested by the

25 Liaison Officer. Eventually, the tape would then be

 

 

117

 

1 rewound and reused. It is possible the tape could have

2 been used in any of the other aircrafts used by the

3 security forces at that time. It was ..."

4 And we go over the page:

5 "... not, for example, specific to Gazelle 4."

6 So what you are seem to be saying there was it was

7 a video cassette. If something had been recorded on it,

8 it was open for the liaison officer to make a request

9 for it or not?

10 A. Just to clarify, the liaison officer, that could either

11 be the liaison officer that we might have picked up and

12 then dropped off afterwards or the aviation liaison

13 officer. Either/or.

14 Q. That's very helpful. Are you able to tell me whether it

15 was a regular occurrence for either of those people to

16 request videos?

17 A. In the six months tour I was there, I never

18 experienced it.

19 Q. Any reason for that that you can assist me with?

20 A. I believe the only reason for that -- I can't speculate

21 as to why it was never asked for.

22 Q. May it have been that in fact what you were recording

23 was not very interesting, if you will forgive the way

24 I have put it?

25 A. Absolutely, yes.

 

 

118

 

1 Q. It is a tragedy, but a lot of the civil disorder and car

2 burning and so on was commonplace?

3 A. It became a regular occurrence, yes.

4 Q. Were you ever aware of videos being used for training

5 purposes?

6 A. No.

7 Q. Now, if something hadn't been recorded on to a video

8 cassette -- you had gone up, you had come down and the

9 video camera hadn't been used or it hadn't been

10 requested by anybody -- would it just stay in the

11 machine?

12 A. No, the tape was treated as much priority as a weapon or

13 a radio, and it did have -- I can't remember if it was

14 a letter or a number or a day of the week written on it,

15 but the aircraft commander had to sign for that tape and

16 then at the end of the duty it was signed back in.

17 Q. Did you ever hear of tapes going -- I know in this

18 context you probably did, but did you ever hear of tapes

19 going missing on a regular basis?

20 A. Never.

21 Q. Now, I want to just move on now to an actual flight that

22 you will be familiar with, I hope, namely what I'm

23 calling the Gazelle 4 flight?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. On the evening of Sunday, 14 March. I can tell that you

 

 

119

 

1 that flight was between 6 pm and 8 pm, including a

2 refuelling stop, on the Sunday evening.

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. And that's March 1999. And if we call up RNI-833-167,

5 please (displayed), I just want you to help me with

6 this. Can the top half of the page be highlighted,

7 please?

8 Now, please don't think I'm being critical because

9 you didn't write the statement down -- I'm not being

10 critical of anybody -- but about four lines down you

11 tell the police that your helicopter:

12 "... was fitted with a day thermal imaging airborne

13 surveillance camera with recording facilities. It has

14 a Nightsun, which has an infrared capability."

15 Now, is that what we are talking about, thermal

16 imaging?

17 A. The Nightsun is the spotlight and the infrared

18 capability aids the camera.

19 Q. I see. So the light shone from that helps the camera to

20 pick up the pictures?

21 A. Correct.

22 Q. You then say -- and I'll read the sentence again in its

23 entirety:

24 "It has a Nightsun, which has an infrared

25 capability, and at the time we were wearing night vision

 

 

120

 

1 goggles."

2 What I'm not clear about is do you mean at that time

3 we had the facility to put night vision goggles on, or

4 do you mean that on Sunday, 14 March on this flight you

5 were using night vision goggles?

6 A. No, no, it is standard practice that if you went out and

7 there was a possibility of it getting dark before you

8 came back, not knowing when you were coming back, you

9 had to take night vision goggles to aid your flight.

10 Q. And I'm sure we have all seen those in films, it is the

11 green --

12 A. Correct.

13 Q. What you are saying I think is it was your discretion as

14 to when you put them on?

15 A. Yes, they would be fitted to the helmets before you

16 actually boarded the aircraft.

17 Q. Yes, but what I'm saying is you could take off in bright

18 sunshine and not need them, but suddenly later on,

19 because you were out later than that thought you might

20 be, you put them on?

21 A. That was at the individual's discretion.

22 Q. And again, just to give us a flavour, it is very much,

23 is it, what we would all expect, that when it gets a bit

24 murky to the human eye, the question arises as to

25 whether you put them on?

 

 

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1 A. It was down to safety really, yes.

2 Q. At about that time -- are you able to recollect -- at 6

3 to 8 pm, a March evening, you would have them on?

4 A. I remember having them on.

5 Q. You absolutely remember having them on?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Having said that, maybe we can unpack it a little bit.

8 Is that because -- and I don't mean this rudely again --

9 you are quite a cautious flyer, that you put them on

10 before you needed them, or was it actually quite dark?

11 A. It was actually quite dark.

12 Q. The question I would ask from that is this: was it too

13 dark to have videoed anything without using thermal

14 imaging if you had your goggles on?

15 A. Throughout the whole sortie, would that be?

16 Q. Yes.

17 A. From my recollection, yes.

18 Q. Because you told me you had them on the whole time?

19 A. I certainly do remember wearing them during the sortie,

20 especially towards the end of the sortie. I cannot

21 remember hand on heart if I did have them on on take-off

22 from Bessbrook. But certainly during the sortie I had

23 them on.

24 Q. Let me find an appropriate way of putting it for you:

25 there may have been an opportunity to video without

 

 

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1 using thermal imaging on this sortie.

2 A. Is that after the pick-up of the LO?

3 Q. Yes.

4 A. Hand on heart, I really can't remember.

5 Q. Let me finish. There may have been an opportunity to

6 video once you had picked the LO up, but certainly by

7 the end of it there wasn't?

8 A. No, definitely.

9 Q. I'm just trying to find a fair way for you to express

10 what you are saying?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Now, going back to the flight, I'm not going to go into

13 the details at this precise moment, but you saw quite

14 a lot of public disorder, cars on fire and so on and so

15 forth?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. That, I presume, was a fairly normal night, was it, or

18 would you say that was a bit above and beyond what you

19 were experienced in?

20 A. This was my first tour -- first and only flying tour of

21 Northern Ireland. I had only been in

22 Northern Ireland -- I got there during the month

23 of February and it is the first time I might have seen

24 that sort of level of activities.

25 Q. And if we can call up RNI-842-107, please (displayed),

 

 

123

 

1 highlighting paragraph 18, you say, second line:

2 "I had not seen that level of violence before and

3 I have not seen anything like it since."

4 A. Since -- that was during my tour of Northern Ireland,

5 yes.

6 Q. Yes.

7 A. Yes, that's correct.

8 Q. So it was a little bit above and beyond the usual --

9 A. Above the norm, yes.

10 Q. Just so we can understand the positions, how far away

11 was Aldergrove in flying time -- that's probably the

12 easiest way for us to understand it -- from Lurgan and

13 Portadown? I know you'd say it depends on how fast

14 I fly, but ...?

15 A. At normal transit speed, Lurgan would be roughly

16 10 minutes, Portadown possibly 15, from Aldergrove.

17 Q. What about Bessbrook?

18 A. That was 20 minutes.

19 Q. And you have told us in your statement at

20 paragraph 21 -- can you highlight that, please -- that:

21 "I was initially uncertain why I had been asked to

22 take the liaison officer that night. There would have

23 been a Gazelle located in Aldergrove (Gazelle 6), which

24 could have performed this duty. I later found out from

25 my aircraft commander that the reason we had been asked

 

 

124

 

1 was because we were a quick reaction helicopter and

2 a helicopter which was more local would have taken

3 longer to mobilise despite its presence in the

4 locality."

5 A. That's correct.

6 Q. Now, had you actually been made aware of any out of

7 bounds areas that evening, can you recollect?

8 A. Myself personally, no, I cannot recollect.

9 Q. And as far as actually going on this flight -- don't say

10 the name if you can remember it -- but it was the

11 aviation liaison officer who briefed you?

12 A. Didn't --

13 Q. Sorry, didn't brief you but set it in train, if you

14 like?

15 A. As far as I'm aware, yes.

16 Q. Yes, and as far as you were concerned, what was the

17 purpose? What were you meant to be doing?

18 A. Until we picked up the LO from Portadown, I didn't know

19 and I don't think the aircraft commander knew either.

20 Q. Okay. What did you go on to do?

21 A. We picked up the LO. He then asked -- requested the

22 aircraft commander to move up towards Lurgan and then we

23 repositioned around Lurgan under the LO's request.

24 Q. You picked him up from Portadown?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

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1 Q. And do you recall whether he was in uniform?

2 A. I cannot remember.

3 Q. If we call up RNI-842-106, please (displayed),

4 paragraph 16, you say in your statement:

5 "I recall that the liaison officer we picked up was

6 in his civvies."

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. So you stand by that?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Seeing that in the statement. And you go on to say:

11 "As soon as he was on board, he was virtually

12 straight on the radio."

13 Anything unusual about that?

14 A. No.

15 Q. "However, he had flicked the switch which I mention

16 above so that I couldn't hear what he was saying."

17 Again, anything unusual about that?

18 A. Nothing untoward, no.

19 Q. Had you flown with this particular liaison officer

20 before?

21 A. No.

22 Q. Do you remember that?

23 A. No.

24 Q. Did you fly with him subsequently, do you remember?

25 A. No.

 

 

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1 Q. Now, a broad question again: was there anything out of

2 the ordinary in the behaviour of the liaison officer

3 that evening?

4 A. No.

5 Q. Anything he said or did?

6 A. No, as far as I am aware. I didn't know the person

7 individually but ...

8 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Before you leave that point,

9 Mr Savill, can I just check my understanding? I had

10 understood you earlier to say that you didn't encounter

11 a situation where the liaison officer used the mute

12 button. That was when you were talking more generally.

13 But you have now said that in this case the liaison

14 officer did do that.

15 A. He did do it. As I had stated, I had only been in

16 Northern Ireland five or six weeks at the time. At the

17 time, I didn't think it strange for him to use it.

18 I assumed he was getting briefed -- I don't know if he

19 had been briefed on the ground before he alighted the

20 aircraft or not, I don't know. So I assumed he was

21 being briefed over the radio.

22 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Thank you. But you are quite sure

23 that he did use the mute button?

24 A. Yes, he did, yes.

25 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: And that would have been a link back to

 

 

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1 the operations room?

2 A. Yes.

3 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: So could you just explain to us the

4 channels that are available to him? You are obviously

5 in touch with air traffic control in Aldergrove; yes?

6 A. Yes.

7 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: He has got a separate radio system?

8 A. There are three radios on the Gazelle fitted in

9 Northern Ireland. One is the air traffic control radio.

10 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: That's dedicated to you?

11 A. Yes.

12 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: A link between you and --

13 A. And aircraft traffic commander, yes. There was also

14 a UHF radio, which is the safety frequency for military

15 aircraft to be able to speak to each other, especially

16 during the hours of darkness. And then there is the UHF

17 radio, which is the military radio for talking to the

18 ground or ops.

19 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Or ops?

20 A. Yes, and then there is obviously the IC also.

21 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: And that's on a fixed frequency. So

22 there is no need for the LO to know a frequency before

23 he is able to use that?

24 A. It can be -- the frequency can be changed. The -- but

25 he would have briefed the aircraft commander on what

 

 

128

 

1 frequency, or possibly the aircraft commander was

2 briefed prior to alighting initially the aircraft, the

3 frequency to be set on the VHF radio.

4 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: I'm just trying to get a sense of how

5 easy it is for you or the Commander to monitor the

6 traffic on that radio if you are obviously flying and in

7 contact with air traffic control, et cetera.

8 A. That would be primarily my job as pilot.

9 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: In terms of the air traffic controller?

10 A. Well, monitoring all three radios.

11 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: All three?

12 A. And also flying the aircraft safely.

13 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Thank you very much.

14 MR SAVILL: If this helps, it is right to say, I think, that

15 the radio available to the LO, he could use it to

16 contact someone on the ground without you or the

17 Commander being aware of it. I'm not saying he did.

18 A. He could not change the frequency without us knowing.

19 MR SAVILL: That's very helpful. So somebody, the

20 Commander, sets the frequency?

21 A. Correct.

22 Q. And again, let's go into a little detail, does a light

23 come on or is a noise made or is it on the display if

24 somebody changes it in the back, or he simply can't

25 do it?

 

 

129

 

1 A. He physically can't do it. It's positioned in between

2 the Commander and the pilot.

3 Q. As far as juggling balls in the air, there are a number

4 of frequencies being used. Were you or the Commander in

5 permanent listening mode, if you like, to the LO's

6 frequency in the back?

7 A. I had it, if you like, at the back of my head.

8 Primarily, it would have been the aircraft commander. I

9 would have been listening and speaking to air traffic

10 control.

11 Q. But except in a certain situation when he pressed the

12 mute button, either of you could hear what was going on?

13 A. Sorry, say that again, please?

14 Q. I'm not expressing myself. Did you listen to one

15 frequency only at a time or did you have them all --

16 A. No, all three, all of them all the time.

17 Q. And you would obviously know through technical call

18 signs and so on, which frequency it was?

19 A. Absolutely.

20 Q. So it was one set of headphones that pumped in all

21 different radio types?

22 A. Correct.

23 Q. And as far as the frequency that was assigned to the LO,

24 that was a frequency -- again, help me -- was presumably

25 pre-ordained as the contact frequency for whoever it was

 

 

130

 

1 on the ground that he was trying to contact?

2 A. As far as I'm aware, yes.

3 Q. So what I'm saying is a patrol would go out and would

4 have a frequency that it would have assigned to it to

5 contact a helicopter?

6 A. Correct.

7 Q. So if you were going into an area where there were the

8 following patrols, the Commander would know the

9 frequency to set the radio to?

10 A. As far as I'm aware, yes.

11 Q. Thank you. Your statement, page RNI-842-109, please

12 (displayed), paragraph 25, you say that it was not the

13 done thing to quiz the liaison officer, in the middle of

14 that paragraph, about what was going on in the air, but

15 you did try to pick up as much information as you could

16 whilst you were flying. Just explain to us, do you mean

17 that it wasn't professional?

18 A. Absolutely.

19 Q. He would tell you what you needed to know?

20 A. Absolutely, yes.

21 Q. If we could call up on to the screen what I'm calling

22 the security force activity map, please. Now, just take

23 a moment -- I will be quiet -- and have a look at that.

24 You can familiarise yourself with it. (Pause)

25 Do you remember that, that area, landmarks?

 

 

131

 

1 A. No apart from the cemetery.

2 Q. Right. I'm not going to quiz you on it, but I hope you

3 would accept from me, we have marked on a map here the

4 route, if I'm using the right expression, am I? No?

5 A. No, flight.

6 Q. Flight path of Gazelle 4 between 6 and 8 pm; yes?

7 A. Okay, yes.

8 Q. Is that, to the best of your recollection, the flight

9 path that you took or are you looking at me saying,

10 "I simply can't recall"?

11 A. I simply can't recall that. I don't know the area.

12 I knew where Lurgan was in respect to Portadown.

13 I certainly did not know it individually.

14 Q. Which presumably illustrates why you needed an LO?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. I'm not, therefore, going to show you another map that

17 I have got behind me because it probably wouldn't assist

18 you, but if we could just call up RNI-833-167, please,

19 which is a statement dated 22 April 1999 made to the

20 police (displayed) which we have looked at already, we

21 can see, if we highlight the bottom half of that page,

22 four lines down:

23 "We flew to Portadown and collected the LO and went

24 to the Aldergrove side of the Kilwilke Estate. There

25 appears to be a large graveyard at that area. It's our

 

 

132

 

1 normal practice to fly at approximately 1,500 feet and

2 observe from a point nearby. To check blind spots we

3 normally do slow orbits around the area."

4 Which is what, I think, the flight path shows; yes?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. And at the bottom, second line up:

7 "Our liaison officer needed to check out the

8 activity in the estate to decide if ground forces should

9 be introduced to deal with the problem."

10 So we can see when you made a statement a long time

11 ago, you are recollecting the cemetery; yes?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And telling us that you would have followed a very

14 similar flight path. Do you recall when the decision or

15 the discussion took place about troops being sent in?

16 Would you have been involved in that with the LO or is

17 that nothing to do with you?

18 A. To be quite honest, it really wasn't anything to do with

19 me. However, it would have been on through my earpiece,

20 but because we were so close to Aldergrove, you know,

21 air traffic zone, my primary job was to listen to them

22 because obviously there was civilian aircraft about

23 also.

24 Q. You are, in your different statements -- and I'm not

25 going to take you to them unless I have to -- slightly,

 

 

133

 

1 I think, confused as to whether or not you refuelled on

2 this sortie. What is your recollection?

3 A. I could not remember.

4 Q. You can't remember?

5 A. I could not remember.

6 Q. As I say, I'm not going to take you to them, but you

7 give two different versions. But today you can't

8 remember.

9 As far as landing the helicopter is concerned,

10 generally a Gazelle, at this sort of time, was that

11 something that was advisable? I mean, in a field or

12 somewhere other than an airstrip?

13 A. No.

14 Q. Why was that?

15 A. Safety really. It is not armoured in any way. We are

16 not armed in any way. It would be silly.

17 Q. So you could do it but it was not on the list of good

18 things to do in a Gazelle?

19 A. No. You -- as I stated before, air traffic permanently

20 have got you on radar and also you have to be authorised

21 before take-off if you are allowed to land anywhere

22 other than a designated airfield or military base.

23 Q. I'm not being facetious when I say this, but presumably

24 if an aircraft landed unauthorised you would have

25 somebody on the radio saying, "Is there a problem?"

 

 

134

 

1 A. Firstly, air traffic control would be, and they would

2 also immediately relay that to Aldergrove whereupon they

3 would be chasing that up.

4 Q. Putting it bluntly, someone would want an explanation?

5 A. Absolutely.

6 Q. And it was impossible to be invisible carrying out such

7 a manoeuvre?

8 A. Correct.

9 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: From an air traffic control viewpoint,

10 the screens that they are watching, are they capable of

11 being aware of your height? And if you were to drop to

12 zero and land, would they be technically aware of that?

13 Are you able to say?

14 A. Yes, they are able to give that information, yes,

15 because aircrafts have to squawk -- and it is referred

16 to as a squawk -- all aircrafts, civilian, military,

17 whatever -- and it is a designated, four-digit number

18 that you get given before you take off under air traffic

19 control authority.

20 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: And that puts you on the screen --

21 A. They can identify you.

22 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Thank you very much, thank you.

23 MR SAVILL: Was a recording made, do you recall, on this

24 flight?

25 A. No.

 

 

135

 

1 Q. And just to help you more than anybody else, let's just

2 call up RNI-842-108 (displayed), paragraph 23

3 highlighted, please, because you seem very certain then

4 when you said that, and I just wanted to show you, you

5 say in that:

6 "I'm not sure whether or not the video cameras were

7 used on the evening of 14 March. As far as I'm aware,

8 it was never switched on."

9 So you are saying to the best of your knowledge, the

10 best of your recollection?

11 A. To the best of my recollection there was no recording

12 taken.

13 Q. And I think also what you helpfully told me was there

14 was no big deal about that?

15 A. No.

16 Q. It really was not something that was so out of the

17 ordinary?

18 A. No, it wasn't out of the ordinary.

19 Q. -- that it would have cried out for video recording.

20 When you returned to your base, if we can just read on

21 there:

22 "After the flight, I was called in by the Flight

23 Commander and asked whether I recalled the video camera

24 being used."

25 Again, I just want to be fair to you. I presume

 

 

136

 

1 that's not the minutes or hours after the flight; that's

2 much later?

3 A. Correct, yes.

4 Q. We have talked already about procedures for keeping the

5 tapes and requests for them. As far as you are

6 concerned, are you able to shed any light on what may

7 have happened to the tape in reality that was in this

8 helicopter? Can you recollect?

9 A. As I stated before, the aircraft commander would have --

10 or signed for the tape, the radios that went into the

11 aircraft --

12 Q. Sorry, I know the theory. I'm asking you about this

13 particular night and this particular tape. You may not

14 be able to remember?

15 A. I can honestly say I cannot remember that, but it would

16 have been as normal standard procedure.

17 Q. As far as your experiences that evening were concerned,

18 the car fire, the disorder and so on, are you able to

19 tell us whether you expected perhaps to be asked to go

20 back out again to look at what was happening?

21 A. Us personally as a helicopter?

22 Q. Yes.

23 A. No.

24 Q. You had done the job, you had come back. As far as you

25 were concerned, you must have had feelings about this --

 

 

137

 

1 A. No, I do recall that when we left, things were quite

2 a lot quieter and the liaison officer in the back of the

3 aircraft was happy that things were, you know, calming

4 down.

5 Q. That's what I'm driving at. We have heard a little bit

6 of evidence about that. I'm paraphrasing but it was

7 perhaps on one view -- not definitively, but on one

8 view -- a little surprising that it would seem a Gazelle

9 was tasked to go back and look at what you had been

10 looking at already, because it had been dying down. Do

11 you follow?

12 A. Yes, I do, yes.

13 Q. And I think what you are saying is that that's your view

14 as well?

15 A. Until today, I would be quite hand on heart. Until

16 today I didn't realise that Gazelle 6 had been tasked

17 later on that evening.

18 Q. No, there is no reason that you should have been.

19 Now, let me just be clear in what I'm saying: I'm

20 not putting any evidence before you, I'm just using the

21 word "speculation" and I'm certainly not suggesting you

22 are in any way involved. But if it were speculated that

23 something perhaps had been recorded that shouldn't have

24 been recorded on your flight and that the tape had

25 subsequently gone missing because someone didn't want it

 

 

138

 

1 to be viewed, what would you say to that speculation?

2 A. That it just would not happen. It could not happen.

3 Each tape was individually marked.

4 Q. And as far as any speculation -- and I emphasise that

5 word again -- is concerned, that someone on that flight

6 that evening had in some way -- don't ask me necessarily

7 how -- assisted someone on the ground in the planting of

8 the device under Rosemary Nelson's car by spotting

9 movements, by communicating with them perhaps, what can

10 you say that might help us or illuminate that?

11 A. I would say no, that it just wouldn't have happened and

12 I can categorically say didn't happen, as far as my

13 recollection.

14 Q. The one you missed out but nearly said was "couldn't

15 happen"?

16 A. No, it couldn't happen really.

17 Q. You have helpfully told us a number of reasons why it

18 couldn't. Is there anything in summary that you can

19 tell us why it couldn't have happened?

20 A. Personally I did not know Rosemary Nelson before --

21 before that evening or the following day actually.

22 Although -- no -- I cannot give a -- or categorically

23 say, state, as to why it couldn't happen, but the

24 training and everything else that everyone goes through

25 in the forces, it would just go completely against the

 

 

139

 

1 grain.

2 Q. As I say, I'm using the word "speculation" and I just

3 wanted in fairness to give you the opportunity to

4 address that.

5 Before I show you two more documents, after the

6 Gazelle 4 flight that we have talked about, did you ever

7 experience either this or another liaison officer using

8 the mute button? Can you remember?

9 A. In Northern Ireland -- I have experienced it outside

10 Northern Ireland.

11 Q. In Northern Ireland?

12 A. I cannot put my hand on my heart and say yes or no.

13 Q. That's entirely fair. Now, I'm going to just try your

14 patience a little bit and your expertise, if I may, to

15 assist us with a couple of documents which, to use the

16 vernacular, are nothing to do with you; okay? But you

17 are someone who is trained in this and can perhaps shed

18 some light on it. It is no secret, it is to do with

19 Gazelle 6.

20 Could I ask that RNI-406-274 is called up to the

21 screen, please (displayed)? Could we highlight the

22 bottom three quarters of that page, please? Now, it has

23 been transcribed on to a police form that we have just

24 seen, but in handwriting at the top of the page we can

25 see:

 

 

140

 

1 "Belfast Aldergrove ATC [air traffic control]

2 approach."

3 And then the frequency and then the times and the

4 dates that it has been recorded; yes?

5 A. Yes, I can see them.

6 Q. We can see the time, the person speaking and the text;

7 yes?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. And I don't want to look at this page, but turn over to

10 RNI-406-275, please (displayed). Can we highlight the

11 whole page? Thank you. 23.24. Now, I'm not going to

12 ask you to play a role. I will read the whole thing,

13 but I may just stop and ask you to help us with this

14 because this is the document that records air traffic

15 radio conversation relating to Gazelle 6. So we have

16 Hawk 364. Now, that's an individual person's call sign,

17 isn't it?

18 A. Correct.

19 Q. What I'll do is, when it isn't obvious, pause and ask

20 you to explain:

21 "Aldergrove approach, Hawk 364. 23.25. Approach

22 hawk 364 approach. 23.25. Hawk 364, a Gazelle, three

23 persons on board, just lifted from Portadown. I would

24 like to operate in the Lurgan area not above 2,000 feet

25 with a flight information service."

 

 

141

 

1 Just looking at that, anything unusual?

2 A. Nothing unusual at all, no.

3 Q. My translation: someone whose call sign is 364 is in

4 a Gazelle. Pilot or commander, would that be?

5 A. The call sign is for a commander.

6 Q. He is saying there are three people on board, just taken

7 off from Portadown. I want to go over Lurgan, we won't

8 go over 2,000 feet.

9 What is a flight information service?

10 A. It is a service that air traffic can give us. They can

11 see us on radar and they can tell us via radio if

12 anything is going to impede our flight, et cetera.

13 Q. Right:

14 "Approach. All copied. QNH."

15 What does that mean?

16 A. It is basically the air pressure. Local air pressure.

17 Q. Right:

18 "1021 report complete. Hawk 364. 1021 and call

19 complete. 364."

20 Obviously we understand, those of us who are not

21 experienced, there is a lot of repetition to make sure

22 that the messages are received and --

23 A. Understood.

24 Q. "Hawk 364. 23.37 hours. Hawk 364 is complete over

25 Lurgan and changing to ..."

 

 

142

 

1 Then it is "en route", is it, I think? Would that

2 be right?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. It almost suggests that it should be Lurgan and changing

5 to X. Changing to what, or is that not how I'm

6 reading it?

7 A. The "complete in Lurgan" means that they have finished

8 whatever they are doing around that area and "changing

9 to" means that they are changing radio frequency to

10 whatever frequency en route to where they are going. So

11 they are speaking to people --

12 Q. But why doesn't it say the frequency there? Is it

13 perhaps that they couldn't hear it on the tape?

14 A. Possibly.

15 Q. You would expect it to be in there, that's what I'm

16 saying?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Now, we have got a bit after gap there, from 25 minutes

19 past the hour and 37 minutes past the hour where there

20 isn't any conversation, saying -- and, again, you will

21 forgive me because this probably doesn't sound right:

22 "We are hovering over the cemetery. We are going

23 round again ..."

24 Do you see what I'm saying?

25 A. Yes, I do, yes.

 

 

143

 

1 Q. Presumably because that's nothing to do with air

2 traffic, or why?

3 A. Correct. I mean, as I stated before, they can see you

4 on radar, so they are know you are there. The only

5 way -- the only reason they would talk to you or

6 whoever -- talk to the aircraft, would be under

7 information, under the flight information service or if

8 you were doing something that you hadn't given them

9 prior information about or which they wouldn't expect

10 you to do.

11 Q. So once you have told them you are there, you have

12 announced yourself?

13 A. Absolutely.

14 Q. And where you are going, you are allowed to get on with

15 it, if you like?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Within the boundaries that have already --

18 A. Within the rules and the boundaries that are set, yes.

19 Q. And there is no reason for you to have communicated that

20 through?

21 A. Correct.

22 Q. Right. We have then got 23.57:

23 "Hawk 364. Roger, good night.

24 "Good night, Hawk 364.

25 "23.53. Aldergrove approach. Hawk 364 with

 

 

144

 

1 Foxtrot."

2 Now, please put me out of my misery, "Foxtrot" is

3 it --

4 A. Obviously it is the word for F. Without actually being

5 on the sortie or knowing what they were doing, I

6 wouldn't have a clue.

7 Q. So it doesn't have any generic application, "foxtrot"?

8 A. No.

9 Q. "Aldergrove approach. Hawk 364 with Foxtrot."

10 So this is the helicopter saying whatever that

11 means:

12 "Approach acknowledges 364"?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Which I think means go ahead?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. We then have the helicopter going ahead, saying:

17 "364, a Gazelle, now two persons on board, just to

18 the north of Lurgan."

19 Now, pausing there, somebody seems to have left the

20 aircraft between 23.25 and 23.53 and we rather suspect

21 that that was the liaison officer being dropped back at

22 base.

23 Now, the question I have for you is why isn't there

24 any conversation saying -- again, forgive me -- "Coming

25 into Mahon Road, permission to land, to drop off the LO.

 

 

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1 I have dropped the LO off, I'm now taking off again"?

2 A. To air traffic control at Aldergrove or Belfast

3 International, there wouldn't have been any radio

4 conversation. There would have been a radio

5 conversation between the aircraft and the aviation tower

6 or the aviation call sign at Portadown.

7 Q. Right. But wouldn't that, though, involve a descent of

8 the aircraft?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. That Aldergrove would have noticed, should have noticed?

11 A. Yes. However, because they can see you, as I say, they

12 can see you in 3D, if you like, on the radar because you

13 are going into Portadown, it is possibly time of day,

14 a bit blasé maybe, I don't know, I can't say that. But

15 it is not an unusual occurrence.

16 Q. An educated guess --

17 A. Absolutely.

18 Q. -- would be you are dropping a military person off at

19 a military installation?

20 A. In Portadown.

21 Q. However, for example, if you didn't take off within

22 three hours, then perhaps Aldergrove might be on the

23 radio saying --

24 A. No, I think if there had been an emergency or anything,

25 then that would be have been relayed back to Aldergrove

 

 

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1 straight away.

2 Q. If it was relayed as an emergency but you just landed

3 and didn't take off for a long period of time,

4 presumably Aldergrove might have become curious?

5 A. Not really, no, because you had already finished with

6 Aldergrove by the statement of --

7 Q. Okay. You have mentioned the aviation, I think you said

8 tower at Portadown, for example. Just so I understand,

9 where a helicopter can land at a military or police

10 installation, is there a man or woman dedicated to

11 landing the helicopter, communicating with the

12 helicopter or not, or was it just somebody in the

13 operations room?

14 A. No, it is not in the operations room, it is someone in

15 somewhere like Bessbrook, where -- at the time was

16 busy -- there was someone with aviation knowledge to

17 ensure there was no situation -- if you like,

18 two helicopters coming in together. So they had

19 a circuit, either left-hand, right-hand --

20 Q. Yes. So -- again I don't want to go into too much detail

21 but at Mahon Road, for want of a better expression,

22 there was a helicopter pad?

23 A. HLS, yes, Helicopter Landing Site.

24 Q. I'm sorry?

25 A. HLS, Helicopter Landing Site.

 

 

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1 Q. An HLS, I'm corrected.

2 A. Sorry.

3 Q. Was that away from the buildings or on top of it? Just

4 explain that. Was it in a field, I mean, or was it

5 within the perimeter? Can you recall?

6 A. It is certainly within the perimeter, yes. From my

7 recollection, there are two in Portadown. One is on

8 a Tarmac base and one is in a field or near a field.

9 Q. And this is not Dubai International. I mean, this is

10 a piece of Tarmac with a wind sock?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And someone -- and again I know you are not being

13 pejorative -- who is not the world's best aviation

14 expert but someone who has got two eyes, two ears, can

15 see if there is another helicopter -- it is really

16 traffic management --

17 A. Absolutely.

18 Q. -- on a fairly rudimentary, that lands a helicopter?

19 A. Absolutely, and this is why we have the VHF -- wrong:

20 UHF frequency for safety within Northern Ireland.

21 Also -- so all military aircraft are speaking to each

22 other.

23 Q. Yes. Well, we had better look at that again just so I'm

24 sure. Which radio would you use to communicate with the

25 aviation coordinator at a military installation?

 

 

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1 A. That would be the -- it would be the same radio which

2 you had been talking to air traffic control with.

3 Q. Right. So air traffic control could probably hear it as

4 well, if they wanted to?

5 A. If they tuned into that frequency, yes.

6 Q. Yes. And was that recorded, do you know, on cassette

7 tapes?

8 A. No. As far as I'm aware, it is not, no.

9 Q. Right. So we have got the big umbrella, if you like, of

10 air traffic control, masterminding military, civilian

11 and so on on this frequency, on this radio band, but

12 then, when you come into land at a military base or a

13 police station, you are using the same frequency, it is

14 not recorded and it is a much smaller operation?

15 A. Absolutely, yes.

16 Q. Right. Just to complete that:

17 "Two persons on board, just to the north of Lurgan,

18 requesting clearance into the zone. Special VFR from

19 the South West."

20 Just explain that?

21 A. Right. The zone relates to Aldergrove's or Belfast

22 International's air traffic zone, which is, by air

23 traffic law, which is international -- you have to be

24 told what -- you cannot do -- you cannot deviate

25 anything what air traffic tells you to do. And "special

 

 

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1 VFR" is -- "VFR" stands for Visual Flight Rules.

2 Q. Thank you. Now, I'm going to prolong your torture, by

3 virtue of my ignorance, for a little bit longer, if

4 I may. Forgive me. I want just to call up on to the

5 screen some logs. Can I call up RNI-406-286

6 (displayed)?

7 Now, "Gosh" is probably everybody's first impression

8 of that. I'm not going to go through the whole thing.

9 We can see -- and again I'm clear this is nothing to do

10 with you, apart from your expertise -- that this is

11 pilot -- top right-hand corner -- Waldron, flight C,

12 squadron 665. Yes?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Now, if we go down to the middle-ish of the page -- I

15 don't want it highlighted at the moment -- if we look in

16 the third column, there are three black blocks.

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. If we look in the middle of the bottom two, we can see

19 the name Haynes.

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Yes? Now, that was one of the air crew on board, if we

22 look to the right, Gaz 6; yes?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. And we can see various other bits of writing. So I just

25 want to use you, I am afraid, to just help me understand

 

 

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1 this. What is this document?

2 A. It is a document that authorises not only the aircraft

3 to be taken but also that person -- that is purely for

4 the aircraft commander -- held at -- normally in the ops

5 room. He is -- that is him physically signing and

6 getting the authorisation to take that aircraft and do

7 whatever he is allowed -- or was authorised to do.

8 Q. Yes. So if it gets dented, they know who is

9 responsible.

10 A. Who to pay up for, yes.

11 Q. But I think I'm right in saying, contrary to my

12 first impressions, that this isn't something that

13 Mr Waldron would keep in his own personal records?

14 A. No.

15 Q. He would have his own personal records?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Thank you.

18 So, left-hand column: date. Well, those are the

19 days of the month.

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. We are on 14 March; yes?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Now, we then have got something I don't understand. I

24 think, is it, account number and type in column B? Is

25 that right, AC --

 

 

151

 

1 A. No, it is aircraft number and type.

2 Q. Right. So we have got "Gaz", which is a Gazelle?

3 A. Correct.

4 Q. And then the number.

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Third column, self-explanatory: passengers, crew,

7 freight. D: nature of duty. Now, that surprised me

8 a little bit because it doesn't really say what the

9 nature of the duty is. Is that because nobody really

10 knew?

11 A. No, no, the nature of duty -- each, as you stated -- or

12 as has been in -- highlighted in my statement before --

13 each Gazelle is allocated, dedicated, to a certain --

14 Q. Right.

15 A. -- area.

16 Q. I see.

17 A. Time.

18 Q. And it is the number?

19 A. Correct.

20 Q. So if it had been the VIP number -- and I'm afraid I

21 can't remember that -- 1 or 2.

22 A. It would have been 1 or 2, yes.

23 Q. You would have known because it said Gaz 1, that's a VIP

24 job?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

152

 

1 Q. Right. E, I think -- bear with me -- estimated time of

2 departure?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Again, what does that say, "T plus", is it?

5 A. That is "TX from --

6 Q. We have got estimated time of return in column F,

7 haven't we?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. So what does that mean T? T and FM?

10 A. TX is to take off from -- because you could not give an

11 estimated time of departure or return. It is a standard

12 piece of -- or a standard form.

13 Q. We can see it is not unusual because it is up and down

14 both columns. We then go on to column J:

15 "Take-off time, K landing time, time on task."

16 And, again, not particularly informative, it is just

17 "off".

18 A. If you go to column H that is the initials of the

19 authorising officer.

20 Q. Right. So that would be a continuation of what, for our

21 own reasons at the Inquiry, we have blanked out?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. If we then go across to P, Q and R, flying hours, night.

24 Again, guessing, first part, is it?

25 A. No, that's first pilot, hands-on.

 

 

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1 Q. Second pilot. So it is not the part of the night, it is

2 the person?

3 A. It is the person, yes.

4 Q. And we can see if we look down first pilot, is that the

5 Commander, first pilot?

6 A. No, that's if you have actually got physically hands on

7 the controls.

8 Q. I see. You go vertically down to our entry that we are

9 concerned with and you have got there -- I think it is

10 1.6?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. So just explain to me how that works. That's one hour

13 ... no? Point?

14 A. No, it is in six-minute intervals.

15 Q. Right.

16 A. Each hour is broken up into six-minute intervals.

17 Q. Then we have got 0.7?

18 A. Yes, which is --

19 Q. Not a six-minute interval.

20 A. No, 0.7 is 0.7 of an hour.

21 Q. I see what you're saying. So it's a seventh?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Then we've got dual nothing, and we've got a total of

24 2.3?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

154

 

1 Q. So that's the 1.6 plus the 0.7?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Following across, not very much of any interest until we

4 get to -- I'm not sure what -- I think it's Z2. NVG?

5 A. NVG, that would be two hours.

6 Q. Sorry, what is NVG?

7 A. Night vision goggles.

8 Q. Right. And I haven't got it, but presumably if we were

9 to find your flight we could see how long the night

10 vision goggles were worn for?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Rations. I'm not going to ask you about that. Pilot's

13 initials, a statement of the obvious.

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. CUM, what's that?

16 A. Cumulative flying hours.

17 Q. Just go down the page, as it were. RNI-406-287, please

18 (displayed). I'm going to deal with this swiftly,

19 I hope. This is, I think I'm right in saying, a similar

20 but not identical account of the first document we have

21 just looked at, Mr Waldron?

22 A. Correct.

23 Q. I'm not going to go through it all -- we can see it for

24 ourselves -- but what's the difference?

25 A. There's an air crew's individual account --

 

 

155

 

1 Q. That is what I mentioned a moment ago?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. This is what he would keep for his own records?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Just excuse me just for one moment. (Pause)

6 How would someone have come to complete that entry

7 that we have been looking at for Mr Haynes? What I mean

8 is, at one sitting or bit by bit?

9 A. On which document?

10 Q. Okay, I'm sorry, it is my fault for trying to be quick.

11 RNI-406-206.

12 A. On the first document?

13 Q. Yes.

14 A. It would be at the end of the sortie.

15 Q. Right. So that would be a blank line --

16 A. Until he landed.

17 Q. But it was then good practice that after you got out of

18 the helicopter, you go in and fill --

19 A. Absolutely, yes.

20 Q. Just at this stage, let me apologise again for the

21 delay. It has been an education certainly for me,

22 Mr Wakeham. Is there anything you would like to tell

23 the Inquiry that we haven't discussed thus far, please?

24 A. Not that I can think of, no.

25 Q. No. I haven't got any more questions for you, but I

 

 

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1 don't know if any of the Panel has.

2 Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN

3 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Just a couple, if I may. I don't think

4 we are having the benefit of hearing from your flight

5 commander, so can I just ask you one question on this

6 booking in and out of videos because you may have been

7 present when it was done.

8 You say each video was identified in some way,

9 either a letter or a number or a date?

10 A. As far as I recall, there was either a day, i.e. seven

11 days, you know, seven tapes -- all I do remember, they

12 were each identified individually.

13 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: So when the Commander booked it in and

14 out, was it booked in and out against that reference?

15 A. Yes.

16 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: So it should have been possible after

17 the event to locate and discover that video as being

18 identified individually?

19 A. As far as I am aware, yes.

20 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: And can I ask you, during your time in

21 Northern Ireland, did you ever fly Gazelle 6 duties?

22 A. As far as I recall, no, I didn't.

23 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: So can I just ask your experience as

24 a Gazelle 4 pilot, even though you had been tasked on

25 a specific flight, in your experience, having completed

 

 

157

 

1 the first task, were you ever redeployed whilst in the

2 air to go to a second incident just because you were

3 close to the location?

4 A. It does happen. However, I cannot hand on heart recall

5 it happening in Northern Ireland, to me.

6 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: And you have explained very adequately

7 the way that the thing should have been completed,

8 documents should have been completed and things

9 recorded. Is it feasible that if an aircraft was

10 diverted on its return to a second incident, that there

11 would not perhaps be a complete record of what was done

12 on that journey deviation?

13 A. There would be a record of the radio conversation

14 between whoever initiated and the aircraft, and it also

15 would be recorded in the two documents that we have just

16 seen on the screen.

17 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: So you as the pilot when you got back,

18 you would make sure that that deviation was recorded in

19 your flight log?

20 A. I say deviation --

21 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Second tasking then?

22 A. Quite possibly not in that detail, in that much detail.

23 It was -- as discussed, each Gazelle had its number and

24 then that number really did cover everything within its

25 area of operation.

 

 

158

 

1 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: So you would basically depend on the

2 ops room record --

3 A. Yes.

4 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: -- of the deployment rather than the

5 flight log?

6 A. Correct, yes.

7 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Thank you.

8 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr Wakeham, we are very grateful for your

9 evidence. Thank you very much for coming.

10 We will adjourn now until tomorrow morning.

11 (6.00 pm)

12 (The Inquiry adjourned until 10.15 am the following day)

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A645 (sworn) ..................................... 2
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Questions by MR SAVILL ....................... 2
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Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN .............. 87
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Questions by DAME VALERIE STRACHAN ........... 88
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Questions by THE CHAIRMAN .................... 89
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MR PAUL WAKEHAM (sworn) .......................... 90
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Questions by MR SAVILL ....................... 90
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Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN .............. 156
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