Irish Republican News · December 23, 2011
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
History made as coroner recommends prosecution

A prosecution in the case of a Derry teenager killed in 1972 could pave the way for cases to be brought against those responsible for Bloody Sunday and other British military atrocities in the North of Ireland.

A sister of Daniel Hegarty has said the decision to refer her brother’s case to the public prosecution service for consideration finally gives him a “dignity” he was denied 40 years ago.

In a historic move, Coroner John Leckey has this week written to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Barra McGrory asking him to consider if the soldier responsible for Daniel Hegarty’s death in 1972 should be prosecuted.

Fifteen-year-old Daniel was shot dead by British soldiers close to his home in Derry’s Creggan area on the morning of ‘Operation Motorman’ in July 1972.

Mr Leckey referred the case to the DPP after a second and long-awaited inquest into Daniel’s death earlier this month completely exonerated the Derry teenager.

The inquest jury found that Daniel and his cousins Christopher (16), who was also shot but survived, and Thomas (17) posed absolutely no threat to the soldiers.

The jury also rejected, by unanimous verdict, that the soldier referred to as Soldier B shouted warnings before opening fire. Daniel died after he was shot twice in the head.

Margaret Brady, DanIel’s younger sister, said she could not believe it when informed of the decision to seek a prosecution.

“Daniel was treated as a non-person as was my family. No-one came to my mother or father to ask them if they were ok. It was as if we never existed.

“This gives Daniel back his dignity,” Ms Brady said.

She said she had long ago forgiven Soldier B, the still-anonymous individual responsible for the murder, “but I still think he should he prosecuted. He should not be allowed to escape justice just because be wore a uniform.”

Lawyer Des Doherty said in his experience, Mr Leckey’s decision was “unprecedented”.

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© 2011 Irish Republican News