Belfast Telegraph

Man shot on Bloody Sunday 'quit job and turned to drink' over injuries

Patrick Campbell was shot by a soldier on Bloody Sunday in Londonderry in 1972. Credit: PA
Patrick Campbell was shot by a soldier on Bloody Sunday in Londonderry in 1972. Credit: PA

By Alan Erwin

A docker shot in the back by a British soldier on Bloody Sunday had to quit working and turned to drink because of his injuries, the High Court has heard.

Patrick Campbell's son told a judge how the father-of-nine tried to keep his suffering hidden from the family in the aftermath of the shootings in Derry in 1972.

Thirteen people were killed when members of the Parachute Regiment opened fire on civil rights demonstrators, while a fourteenth victim died later from his wounds.

Mr Campbell was among others injured on the day after he had attempted to take cover and then run to safety.

Aged 53 at the time of Bloody Sunday, he subsequently died in 1985 following a battle with cancer.

His family are suing the Ministry of Defence (MOD) after a major tribunal established the innocence of all those killed and wounded.

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 Bloody Sunday killings as "unjustified and unjustifiable".

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

More than £2m has already been paid out in settlements and awards made in other claims.

Proceedings brought by Mr Campbell's son, Billy, centre on a dispute about the level of compensation for loss of earnings and the gravity of injuries he sustained.

Counsel for the plaintiff's family set out how he was running away from the army when a soldier shot him in the lower back.

Barry Macdonald QC said Mr Campbell had been trying to flee in a state of "terror".

He told the court: "The bullet was recovered there was no exit wound."

Mr Campbell underwent surgery, and had to return to hospital for a second time later in 1972 due to complications.

In evidence one of his sons, Billy Campbell, recalled a parent who never discussed what he had gone through.

"He wouldn't complain to you about anything, he was obviously trying to hide things from the kids," Mr Campbell said.

"He was constantly rubbing his back; if you asked was it sore he said no, but you could see him flinching at times."

Suggestions on behalf of the MOD that the docker quit his job due to the death of his wife were denied.

"He loved going to work," Mr Campbell told Mr Justice McAlinden.

"He returned for about two or three weeks (after Bloody Sunday) but he wasn't fit for it."

The court heard that he turned to alcohol in an attempt to cope.

"The drinking got rough; he used to go on bad benders, drinking very heavy for two days," Billy Campbell said.

But in cross-examination David Ringland QC, for the MOD, contended that less than a year after Bloody Sunday the plaintiff was able to tell his doctor most of his symptoms had gone.

The hearing continues.

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