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Sister of Derry boy Manus Deery killed by Army left 'numb' after hearing soldier's name

By Donna Deeney

Published 18/10/2016

Manus Deery
Manus Deery
Manus Deery’s sisters Helen Deery and Marie Kirk with his brother John Deery arrive at court yesterday

The sister of a 15-year-old boy killed by the Army in Londonderry, has said she felt numb when she heard the name of the soldier who fired the fatal shot for the first time yesterday.

Since May 1972, the man who shot Manus Deery in the back of the head has been known only as 'Soldier A'.

But on the first day of a fresh inquest into his death, the court was told the man who killed the schoolboy was called William Glasgow. He is now dead.

Speaking afterwards, Manus' sister Helen Reynolds told the Belfast Telegraph she had felt nothing when she heard it.

"We have never been told the name of the soldier who shot Manus, although I have often wondered what he was called," she said.

"But when I heard his name, I felt nothing. I thought I would have been emotional, I thought I would have cried - but I felt just numb," she said.

During her time in the witness box, Ms Reynolds told the court that her brother Manus had just received his first pay packet, two weeks after starting work as a sewing machine fitter.

She denied that Manus was a member of any terrorist group, saying he had left the house to meet up with his friends at a chip shop in Meenan Square in the Bogside.

They had congregated at an alleyway, known as The Funnel, where they were talking to an older alcoholic man about a handkerchief embroidered in Long Kesh, when the alley was lit up by a "flash". The court heard that this was a tracer bullet fired from a sangar on the Derry Walls overlooking the Bogside, which hit the wall, ricocheted off it and hit Mr Deery in the back of the head.

After finding out her brother had been shot, Ms Reynolds, who was 13 at the time, said she returned home to Limewood Street from babysitting, to find her mother had been sedated and was in the bedroom with her father and two of her siblings.

Ms Reynolds has led the campaign to hold a second inquest into her brother's death since her parents passed away and told the court it was important her brother's name was cleared.

She said: "On paper, there is a mark on my brother's name. It is my family's wish that he is declared innocent. The witnesses need that too, they were all children and they need to be vindicated.

"I want my brother's character brought back."

The second inquest into the circumstances that led to the death of Manus Deery, was ordered by the Attorney General and is being heard by Coroner Adrian Colton.

The first inquest held in 1973 returned an open verdict but evidence of the MoD's investigation into the shooting was not presented. However, it forms a significant part of this new inquest.

It emerged that the MoD had discussed the possibility that when he shot Manus Deery, William Glasgow breached the 'Yellow Card' rules about when it is appropriate for a soldier to discharge his firearm.

This information was only made known to the family in 2012, in a meeting with the junior Northern Ireland minister, Des Brown.

Previously unheard testimony from a man called Noel Duddy is also expected to come under tight cross examination over the next two days, when evidence of civilian witnesses will be heard.

When Ms Reynolds was asked by barrister Gerry McAlinden if she knew all of the friends her brother was with that night, she said she did.

But when asked if she was aware of Noel Duddy, Ms Reynolds said the first time she ever encountered him was on March 15 this year, the day before a re-enactment of the killing in the Bogside.

Ms Reynolds and the first two civilian witnesses to give evidence, Edward Divin and Noel Millar, were asked by Mr McAlinden about Mr Duddy's presence at the scene on the night.

The court heard Mr Duddy would give evidence to say that Manus had a long stick with him on the night, about three or four-foot long, and that he pointed it at the Army sangar on the Derry Walls where the soldiers were.

Mr Divin and Mr Millar adamantly denied this and said there was "no way" Manus had anything in his hand at all.

The inquest is scheduled to continue for two weeks.

Belfast Telegraph

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