Irish Republican News · October 10, 2003
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Para wanted to shoot Martin McGuinness

A former British soldier who wanted to take Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness ``dead or alive'' on Bloody Sunday claimed he had him in his rifle sights during earlier street disturbances in Belfast.

Soldier L said he was waiting for the order to shoot Mr McGuinness dead after he believed he had seen him throwing bricks and bottles.

Cathryn McGahey, counsel to the inquiry, asked whether he was sure it was Mr McGuinness.

``Positive, I had him in my rifle sights and I was just waiting for the order to shoot him dead,'' he replied.

Soldier L has made other extraordinary claims regarding the events of January 30, 1972, when 14 civil rights demonstrators were shot dead by British soldiers in Derry.

In his statement to the inquiry, Soldier L, who fired a number of shots on Bloody Sunday, claimed that the former Bishop of Derry, Edward Daly - then a parish priest - concealed two rifles under his cassock.

He also claimed he saw another soldier fire so many shots into a body at point-blank range that when colleagues lifted it to put it into a body bag, it split in two.

The soldier said he saw plastic explosives at a rubble barricade in Rossville Street, where four of the victims were shot dead.

Soldier L, who was threatened with contempt of court proceedings for refusing to appear before the inquiry last month, finally gave evidence from behind a screen today.

Another former British army paratrooper described the 26 civilians shot by members of his regiment as ``casualties of war''.

He said the victims had taken part in an ``illegal'' march.

``They were all illegal and I have maintained that later in this statement, you know, if they had not gone on an illegal march, none of this would have happened and we would not be here today.''

In other testimony, a former soldier who drove a car containing the body of Gerald Donaghy, told the Inquiry he had found no nail bombs on the body.

Donaghy was later photographed by the British Army with nail bombs in his pockets, which relatives believe was a propoganda ploy.

Soldier 150, a corporal, said he would not have driven the vehicle to a Britsh Army post on Craigavon Bridge if there had been explosive devices on the body.

``I am sure if there had been a nail bomb or bombs in the man's pockets I would have seen them. Had I seen them, I would have told my officer and the thing would have unfolded from there.

``Had he had anything in his jacket or trouser pockets, I think I would have seen them,'' he added.

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© 2003 Irish Republican News