HET draws a blank

The mother of a six-year-old boy shot in the head during the conflict has expressed her frustration after the police Historical Enquiries Team (HET) dismissed evidence of loyalist involvement in the death.


Ena Doherty, who is now a grandmother, said she feels let down after the HET failed to establish who shot her son Jim on October 8 1972 and said she has only been left with "more questions".

In one of the most tragic stories of the conflict, the primary school pupil had been playing with his brother and sister in the front garden of the family home in Norglen Crescent in west Belfast when he was thought to have fallen over. His parents Ena and Alec, who had been indoors, ran to his aid and brought him to the Royal Victoria Hospital Belfast where doctors discovered a bullet lodged in his head.

He died a week later with his devastated parents by his bedside.

Ena Doherty said she believes loyalists may have been involved following a claim carried in a book 'Killing for Britain'.

It suggested that a UVF man had gone to the area to kill a republican but when the intended victim was not home, the armed man left the area in a car. It is alleged the gun discharged from the car as he left.

The book, which claimed the loyalists were unaware they had shot a child, alleges Crown force collusion in that they were given clear passage in and out of the area.

It is believed to have been written by a former UVF man, under the name John Black. After investigating the claim and trying without success to establish the author, the HET said it "believes it is extremely unlikely that loyalist terrorists were responsible for shooting Jim".

However, Mrs Doherty said she believes there could be more to the claim because the HET report makes reference to a car with gunmen on board being recorded in British army logs.

The car, of unknown make and registration, was seen travelling away from the scene just minutes after Jim's shooting.

Mrs Doherty, who is now 68, said she was "very, very disappointed" by the report. "I feel let down," she said. "I thought they would have got somewhere. It hasn't given me any closure at all. It's given me a lot of questions.

"I'm in exactly the same position I was in years ago. Nothing will ever bring him back but the truth will ease me."

Urgent Appeal

Despite increasing support for Irish freedom and unity, we need your help to overcome British and unionist intransigence. We can end the denial of our rights in relation to Brexit, the Irish language, a border poll and legacy issues, with your support.

Please support IRN now to help us continue reporting and campaigning for our national rights. Even one pound a month can make a big difference for us.

Your contribution can be made with a credit or debit card by clicking below. A continuing monthly donation of £2 or more will give you full access to this site. Thank you. Go raibh míle maith agat.

© 2011 Irish Republican News