Army vet­eran may be charged over ‘un­jus­ti­fied’ death of IRA man

The Daily Telegraph - - Front Page - By Do­minic Ni­cholls De­fence and Se­cu­rity cor­re­spon­dent

A FORMER Bri­tish sol­dier could face a pos­si­ble crim­i­nal probe into the death of an IRA mem­ber 47 years ago af­ter a coro­ner ruled the killing was “un­jus­ti­fied”. Sea­mus Bradley was shot dead in the Creg­gan area of Lon­don­derry in July 1972 at the age of 19. Troops from The Royal Scots had de­ployed to the area as part of Oper­a­tion Mo­tor­man, an at­tempt to gain con­trol of repub­li­can ar­eas across North­ern Ire­land that had been con­sid­ered no-go zones.

The Army claimed the teenager was shot while he was in a tree, armed with a ma­chine gun, and suf­fered ad­di­tional in­juries as he fell. How­ever, his fam­ily al­leged he was killed later, claim­ing he was taken away in an Army ve­hi­cle and that he sus­tained fa­tal in­juries while un­der in­ter­ro­ga­tion.

Judge Pa­trick Kin­ney, over­see­ing an in­quest at Belfast Coro­ner’s Court yes­ter­day, re­jected both those ver­sions of events as he ruled Mr Bradley was killed by a sol­dier who got out of a Sara­cen ve­hi­cle, dropped to one knee and opened fire.

He also said he was sat­is­fied Mr Bradley was not pos­ing a threat at the time he was killed and that the sol­dier had breached the Army’s “yel­low card” rules about when they could shoot. Declar­ing that the IRA man could have sur­vived his in­juries had he been prop­erly treated by sol­diers at the time, the coro­ner said he was go­ing to send a re­port to North­ern Ire­land’s di­rec­tor of public pros­e­cu­tions (DPP).

Although the coro­ner had been un­able to con­firm the iden­tity of the sol­dier in­volved, if he was still alive and could be iden­ti­fied, the DPP could de­cide to press charges against him. A Min­istry of De­fence spokesman said yes­ter­day: “We ac­knowl­edge the out­come de­liv­ered by the coro­ner into the death of Sea­mus Bradley and will now re­view the de­tailed find­ings”.

An in­quest in 1973 re­turned an open ver­dict and North­ern Ire­land’s at­tor­ney gen­eral or­dered a fresh in­quest in 2013.

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