An attempt to stop the prosecution of a former British soldier for the murder of a child in Derry 48 years ago has been rejected.
The anonymous ‘Soldier B’ had claimed the decision to charge him over the killing of Daniel Hegarty put him at heightened risk of sudden death due to ill health.
Fifteen-year-old Daniel (left) was shot twice in the head during an British Army operation in Creggan in July 1972.
In April 2019, it was announced that ‘Soldier B’ was to be charged with his murder, and of intentionally wounding Daniel’s cousin Christopher Hegarty, then aged 17, in the same incident.
The shootings happened during Operation Motorman, when British troops were deployed in Derry at the height of the conflict to impose British rule in liberated areas.
In 2011, an inquest jury unanimously found Daniel posed no risk and had been shot without warning.
A decision was taken not to prosecute Soldier B in 2016. But, in May 2018, the High Court quashed that determination following legal action by the Hegarty family.
Bloody Sunday campaigner John Kelly said the attempt to evade prosecution was “sickening” and said he looked forward to seeing justice for the Hegarty family.
DEATH OF HUGH JORDAN
Meanwhile, tributes have been paid following the death of Hugh Jordan (right), father of shoot-to-kill victim Pearse Jordan, who was shot dead by the RUC in 1992.
For the last 28 years the Jordan family have been tireless campaigners for the truth of what happened.
West Belfast MP Paul Maskey said that “like so many relatives seeking truth, Hugh has passed away without answers about his son’s death because of continuing attempts by the British government to block access to the truth about its role in the conflict.
“My thoughts and condolences are with Theresa and the Jordan family at this difficult time and we will continue to support them in their campaign for truth.”
Mark Thompson from victims’ group Relatives For Justice (RFJ) said Hugh Jordan spent “every single day” from the shooting of Pearse challenging the RUC and their version of events.
“He knew Pearse was unarmed and he knew that the RUC lied about killing him,” he said. “He brought that challenge from Belfast to Europe. Despite many setbacks he never faltered. He always believed the truth would out.
“Despite continual and vicious harassment by the RUC after Pearse’s death he and his wife Theresa never gave up. They had that inner strength that said they were right.”
Mr Thompson said that Hugh and Theresa were the backbone of social activities from the day RFJ opened its Falls Road office in 1999.
“Our hearts are heavy and sore. We can only express our heartfelt sympathy to Theresa agus clan. This has been a cruel year. And never was it ever truer said of anyone – ní bheidh a leithéid ann arís.”