Belfast Telegraph

Coroner appeals for witnesses to 1972 shooting of Seamus Bradley

A coroner has appealed for witnesses to the shooting of teenager to come forward amid claims the republican movement is preventing former IRA members giving evidence to the inquest.

Seamus Bradley, a 19-year-old IRA man, was killed by soldiers in disputed circumstances in Londonderry in 1972.

A new inquest is due to start next month but preliminary proceedings have already heard claims that a family request to Martin McGuinness seeking permission for ex-IRA members to give evidence was turned down.

A previous hearing was told Mr Bradley's brother Danny approached the late Sinn Fein veteran asking if those who witnessed the incident would testify at the inquest.

Mr Bradley has made a written statement to coroner Judge Kinney outlining what he saw of the incident in the Creggan area of Derry.

He claims there were many other witnesses but he has declined to name them, citing fears for his safety due to their paramilitary background.

His barrister told the hearing earlier this month: "Mr Bradley says he approached Martin McGuinness about this and sought permission and permission wasn't forthcoming."

It is understood Mr Bradley made the approach to Stormont's then-deputy first minister in 2015.

Judge Kinney has now issued a statement through the Coroners Service.

"The Coroner, His Honour Judge Kinney, requests that if anyone can assist this Inquest in examining this death, they should make contact with the Coroners Service," it said.

"There may, for example, be persons with relevant information concerning the death but who have not yet brought that information to the attention of the authorities or persons who were in the vicinity of Bishop's Field or the 'Creggan Shops'.

"If you have any knowledge which may assist this investigation please contact the Coroners Service for Northern Ireland. "

Mr Bradley was killed during Operation Motorman - an Army attempt to gain control of republican areas in Belfast and Derry that had previously been considered no-go zones for the security forces.

The Army claimed he was shot while he was in a tree and suffered additional injuries as he fell.

His family have alleged he was shot while running from the area and sustained further injuries while in the custody of soldiers.

Before his death earlier this year, Mr McGuinness, an IRA commander in Derry at the time of the incident, provided a statement to the coroner outlining the activities of the organisation in the city during Operation Motorman.

He informed the court of his willingness to co-operate with the process and said he would assist in any way he could.

The inquest into Mr Bradley's death is due to start in Derry on December 11.

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