Belfast Telegraph

Derry teen ‘posed no risk’ when he was shot, inquest jury finds

By Lesley Houston

A teenager shot dead by British soldiers in Londonderry nearly 40 years ago “posed no risk” when he was shot, a jury has decided.

Jurors made the finding at the inquest into the killing of Daniel Hegarty, a 15-year-old teenager who was killed during Operation Motorman on July 31, 1972.

The operation was aimed at reclaiming “no go areas” in the city from the IRA during the early part of the Troubles.

Daniel, who was working as a labourer when he died, was shot twice in the head by a soldier, near his home in Creggan.

His 16-year-old cousin, Christopher, who was shot in the head by the same soldier, survived.

Yesterday, following a five-day hearing, the jurors at Derry Coroner’s Court unanimously found that neither teenager posed a risk when they were shot.

The jury also rejected the soldiers' claims that they had shouted warnings before shooting.

They found that no soldier present attempted to “approach the injured youths to either search them or provide medical assistance”.

This is the second inquest into Daniel's death and follows the initial inquest in 1973 which recorded an open verdict.

A second inquest was ordered by the Attorney General in 2009 following an examination by the Historical Enquiries Team.

The report found that the RUC probe at the time, was “hopelessly inadequate and dreadful”.

It also said Daniel “posed no threat whatsoever”.

When the inquest opened on Monday, Daniel's sister, Margaret Brady, told how her mother continued to set a place for him at the table and call him for dinner for months after his death.

In 2007, the Government apologised to the Hegarty family after describing Daniel as a terrorist. An MoD document also incorrectly claimed Daniel was armed.

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