Belfast Telegraph

Almost £1m compensation awarded for Bloody Sunday victims

One of the injured is carried down Chamberlain Street in Derry during Bloody Sunday
One of the injured is carried down Chamberlain Street in Derry during Bloody Sunday

By Alan Erwin

More than £900,000 damages is to be paid out in a further 14 compensation claims brought over the Bloody Sunday shootings.

Nine actions on behalf of people killed by British soldiers in Derry in January 1972 have been settled for £75,000 each, while another five of those wounded are all to receive £50,000.

The resolutions were confirmed at the High Court on Thursday as part of a series of lawsuits against the Ministry of Defence.

Thirteen people were shot dead when members of the Parachute Regiment opened fire on civil rights demonstrators.

A fourteenth person injured during events on the day, which became known as Bloody Sunday, died later.

Claims were brought by victims and their families after a major tribunal established the innocence of all those shot.

The Saville Inquiry's findings in 2010 prompted the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, to publicly apologise for the actions of the soldiers.

He described the killings as "unjustified and unjustifiable".

With liability accepted, the cases centred on the level of damages to be paid out.

Last month a judge awarded Michael Quinn £193,000 for injuries inflicted when he was shot in the face as a schoolboy on Bloody Sunday.

St Mary's Church, on the Creggan Estate, during the Requiem Mass for the 13 who died on 'Bloody Sunday' in Londonderry.
St Mary's Church, on the Creggan Estate, during the Requiem Mass for the 13 who died on 'Bloody Sunday' in Londonderry.
30th January 1972: An armed soldier and a protestor on Bloody Sunday when British Paratroopers shot dead 13 civilians on a civil rights march.
A young Fr Edward Daly carries a blood-soaked hankie as he leads a group of men trying desperately to carry John 'Jackie' Duddy to safety. Duddy (17) was the first fatality of Bloody Sunday after being shot from behind by paratroopers
A young Fr Edward Daly (now Bishop Daly) carries a blood-soaked hankie as he leads a group of men trying desperately to carry John 'Jackie' Duddy to safety. Duddy (17) was the first fatality of Bloody Sunday after being shot from behind by paratroopers
Bloody Sunday
A scene showing a British paratrooper near Glenfada Park in Derry where Bloody Sunday took place.
Hugh Gilmore (third left) seen clutching his stomach as he is shot during Bloody Sunday.
Paddy Doherty, who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
William McKinney, killed on Bloody Sunday.
Scenes from 'Bloody Sunday' in Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Lt Col Derek Wilford, the former commander of the members of the Parachute Regiment involved in the Bloody Sunday shootings
A protest parade in was staged in Londonderry in January to mark the 40th anniversary of Bloody Sunday
Hugh Gilmore who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Michael McDaid who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
:Bloody Sunday.
Soldiers taking cover behind their sandbagged armoured cars during Bloody Sunday
Lord Chief Justice, Lord Widgery in his room at the Old Bailey as he looks through his report on the "Bloody Sunday" shootings
Jim Wray who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
John Young who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
William McKinney who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Kevin McElhinney who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Gerard McKinney who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Gerald Donaghey who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Alana Burke who was eighteen when she was run over by an armoured personnel carrier on Bloody Sunday.
Bloody Sunday. January 1972
Patrick Doherty who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Bloody Sunday. Funeral. Mrs Ita McKinney, 9 months pregnant cries behind the hearse carrying her husband James from St Mary's, Creggan. 2/2/1972.
Michael Kelly who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
A man receiving attention during the shooting incident in Londonderry, which became known as Bloody Sunday
Bloody Sunday. 30/1/1972
Bloody Sunday. 30/1/1972
Bloody Sunday. 30/1/1972
JAMES WRAY IN HIS HOME IN THE BOGSIDE DERRY HOLDING THE COAT WITH BULLIET HOLES IN THAT HIS SON ALSO CALLED JAMES WRAY WAS KILLED ON BLOODY SUNDAY
The start of a grim day in Derry. Civil Rights marchers make their way through Creggan. They defied a Government ban and headed for Guildhall Square, but were stopped by the Army in William Street. 31/1/1972
Bloody Sunday 1972
Linda Nash carries flowers with the number 14 inscribed during yesterdays annual Bloody Sunday Parade in Derry. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 29.1.12
A memorial to those killed on Bloody Sunday in the Bogside area of Derry
The memorial to the 14 people who died on Bloody Sunday in Derry rises from among the sea of umbrellas as all the families came together in an ecumenical service. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Civil Rights mark.The service included contributions from Father Michael Canny and Reverend David Latimer, left. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 29.1.12

That led to settlements being announced in another two test cases.

The widow of Gerry McKinney, a father-of-eight, received £625,000 compensation for his death.

And a pay-out of £75,000 was agreed for the family of single man Michael McDaid, 20, over his killing.

Lawyers returned to court on Thursday to announce resolutions in similar actions featuring unmarried victims with no dependants at the time.

The 14 cases involved a combined total of £925,000 in damages, plus costs.

Claims settled for £75,000 each were brought on behalf of the following nine deceased:

  • Hugh Gilmour, 17,  shot dead on Rossville Street.
  • Gerald Donaghey, 17, killed at Abbey Park in the city.
  • John Young, 17, shot dead at a rubble barricade on Rossville Street.
  • Jackie Duddy, 17, shot in the car park of the Rossville Flats.
  • Kevin McElhinney, 17,  shot from behind as he crawled towards the front door of the Rossville Flats.
  • Michael Kelly, 17, fatally wounded near the rubble barricade on Rossville Street
  • William McKinney, 26, shot dead in Glenfada Park.
  • William Nash, 19, shot at the rubble barricade on Rossville Street.
  • James Wray, 22,  shot in Glenfada Park.

Five other actions on behalf of some of those wounded on Bloody Sunday have also been settled for £50,000 each. They are:

  • Alana Burke, injured as an 18-year-old by an armoured vehicle on waste ground near the Rossville Flats car park.
  • John Johnston, 59, (died 16 June 1972) who was shot and wounded in William Street by a paratrooper firing from a derelict building. Mr Johnston died less than six months later.
  • Patrick McDaid wounded as a 24-year-old, most probably by debris caused by an army bullet striking the ground or other object, in the Rossville Flats car park.
  • Daniel Gillespie, aged 32 when he was shot and injured at Glenfada Park. He died in 2008.
  • Pius McCarron, injured by debris sent flying by shots fired in the vicinity of Rossville Flats. A year later he suffered a brain haemorrhage.

A judge was told further discussions are to take place in the remaining lawsuits.

Listing those cases for a review in December, Mr Justice McAlinden said: "I congratulate the parties' representatives for the work they are doing in resolving these very sensitive and difficult matters."

Outside court solicitor Fearghal Shiels of Madden & Finucane, the law firm representing many of the plaintiffs, said: "We welcome the settlements reached and hope to achieve satisfactory outcomes in the remaining actions as soon as possible."

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