Bloody Sunday Inquiry resumes

A Derry man described today how a bullet ripped through his coat as he ran in panic from British Army fire on Bloody Sunday.

The Saville Inquiry into the killing of 14 civilians at a civil rights demonstration on January 30, 1972 resumed today for what is expected to be the last evidence-gathering term.

William Hegarty said he was trying to get away from the shooting by British paratroopers on a civil rights demonstration when he felt a burning sensation in his left shoulder.

``There was a scorch mark across the very top of my shoulder as if someone had run a poker over it. I believe this was where a bullet had skimmed my shoulder,'' he said.

After inspecting his coat, he discovered two holes, one through the left lapel and the other at the back of the shoulder.

Mr Hegarty told theInquiry he was 19 at the time of the march.

During the march he saw a man lying wounded after hearing a high velocity shot in William Street.

He later discovered that the man was John Johnston, who died six months after Bloody Sunday.

Later, as he made his way to the rubble barricade in Rossville Street, Mr Hegarty said he saw two or three bodies lying on the ground.

Mr Hegarty was the first witness to give evidence on the inquiry's first day after the Christmas and New Year break.

Around 40 more witnesses are due to give evidence over the next few weeks.

Lord Saville's inquiry is expected to hear testimony from civilians and former members of the IRA up until around the middle of February.

After the final term ends, the inquiry is expected to adjourn for a short time for legal teams to prepare their final submissions.

Counsel to the inquiry, Christopher Clarke, QC will make a closing statement at some point after all submissions have been received.

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