Belfast Telegraph

Army apologises for 1971 shooting

The Army has apologised to the family of a man shot dead 40 years ago.

Billy McGreanery, 41, was killed in Londonderry in 1971 by a soldier from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, who said he had been armed when he walked past an Army observation post.

The Historical Enquiries Team of detectives said the victim was not carrying a firearm and posed no threat when he was targeted.

Sir Peter Wall, chief of the Army's general staff, wrote to the dead man's family.

"It is evident that the soldier who shot him was mistaken in his belief that he had a weapon and this error, tragically, resulted in the death of an innocent man," he said.

"I would like to express my sorrow and regret for his death which, in the years since it occurred, has deprived you of an uncle's support and affection.

"I do not believe that anything I can say will ease the sorrow you feel for what has happened, but I hope that this apology, and the findings of the HET, will be of some comfort to you."

He died at the junction of Eastway, Lonemoor Road and Westland Street on September 15, 1971, as he walked past the observation post with a group of men.

His family have campaigned for justice and the Army commander wrote to his nephew Billy McGreanery and niece Marjorie Roddy.

Soldier A was never prosecuted on the advice of the attorney general, who said he was acting in the course of his duty.

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