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Ex-Army officer weeps as he addresses family of Derry boy shot in back of head

By Donna Deeney

Published 22/10/2016

Manus Deery
Manus Deery
John Trevor Wilson was commanding officer on the night Manus Deery was killed
Helen Reynolds

An Army commander in charge of the two soldiers involved in the shooting of a 15-year-old boy in Londonderry 44 years ago broke down and cried in the witness box as he read out a prepared statement to the boy's family.

John Trevor Wilson was commanding officer of William Glasgow and Soldier B serving in Derry in May 1972 when Mr Glasgow shot Manus Deery in the back of the head.

Mr Wilson told members of Mr Deery's family that he hoped the family will get some comfort from the ongoing inquest and that he would continue to pray for Manus and for them.

The former Army commander struggled with his emotions and broke down as he said: "It is difficult to comprehend the devastating effect the loss of Manus, at such a young age and in such circumstances, must have had on the family.

"You have my deepest sympathy and I hope this inquiry may provide some comfort to your family.

"I shall continue to remember Manus and you in my thoughts and prayers."

Mr Wilson was still tearful as he stepped down from the witness box but, sitting directly across from him, Manus's family were clearly affected by his words.

Manus's two sisters left their place in the courtroom and followed Mr Wilson outside where they met privately in a room.

This brought a poignant end to another long day of evidence in this second inquest into the death.

Mr Wilson was asked about Army procedures for dealing with times when a soldier fired his gun.

He was also asked if he thought the circumstances in which William Glasgow fired his gun was a breach of the rules given to soldiers in Northern Ireland about how and when it was appropriate to discharge their weapons, known as the Yellow Card rules.

He said he did not seek, nor was he given, any further information about the killing and he reiterated that he didn't think the Yellow Card rules had been broken.

Mr Wilson explained that he had little or no involvement in the investigation and that his role was to look after the operational matters affecting the 90 or so men under his command.

The inquest will resume on Monday.

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