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Army's 1972 killing of schoolboy Manus Deery re-enacted

By George Jackson

Published 18/05/2016

Manus Deery
Manus Deery
Helen Deery on Derry’s Walls near where her brother Manus Deery was shot in 1972

A re-enactment of the controversial killing of a schoolboy by the Army during the Troubles has taken place in Londonderry.

It follows a directive from the Attorney General, John Larkin, that a fresh inquest into the fatal shooting of Manus Deery should take place.

The 15-year-old, who came from Limewood Street in the Bogside, was shot dead by a soldier on May 19, 1972.

He was standing with a group of teenage friends near the junction of Westland Street and Rossville Street when he was shot in the head.

The soldier who killed Manus fired a single high velocity shot at the child from a sentry post on the city's walls overlooking the Bogside.

The soldier, who has since died, fired from almost two hundred yards away.

On Monday night a group of barristers, solicitors, engineers and nautical experts stood on the spot from where the fatal shot was fired. They started the re-enactment at 9.30pm, the time Manus was shot.

Manus' sister Helen Deery, accompanied by relatives and friends, stood near the spot where her brother died as part of the re-enactment process.

Dr Steve Bell from HM Nautical Office, was present to comment and advise on the lighting conditions and the visibility from the soldier's firing position on the city walls of the area in which Manus and the other children were standing on the night of the fatal shooting.

Officials from the Ministry of Defence were also present and provided the types of telescopic sights used by the army in 1972.

The original inquest into Manus Deery's death in 1973 returned an open verdict.

A solicitor for the Deery family, Richard Campbell of Quigley Grant and Kyle solicitors, who attended the re-enactment, said it was a unique legal event during which part of the city walls became a temporary courtroom.

"It has been a very difficult and emotional journey for the family of Manus Deery but they are determined to see it through," Mr Campbell said.

"They want the State to recognise and acknowledge in a legal way that Manus was unlawfully killed by the State.

"The Ministry of Defence has so far been tardy in the least in relation to the disclosure of documents but as a result of this re-enactment, I would be hopeful that a new inquest date will be set in possibly six months' time, over 44 years since Manus was killed."

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