Sisters weep after soldier apologies for teenager's death
A soldier involved in the fatal shooting of a 15-year-old boy in Londonderry 44 years ago, told two of his sisters yesterday he was sorry.
Known only as Soldier B, the man was giving evidence at a fresh inquest which opened this week into the death of Manus Deery, who was shot in the back of the head by a second soldier, now identified as William Glasgow.
When asked by the family's barrister if he had anything to say to Manus Deery's family, Soldier B, who was an army marksman, said: "I am sorry how it turned out, that's all I can do at the moment."
Manus Deery's sisters Helen Reynolds and Marie Kirk, put their heads into their hands and wept in the courtroom.
They were the only non-legal personnel who were able to see Soldier B, who gave his evidence from behind a screen.
Mrs Reynolds told the Belfast Telegraph she cried because she had waited so long for an apology but added: "It meant nothing to me, if he was really sorry, he would tell the truth.
"That was the only time he looked at us all day. I listened to everything he has said and I don't believe a word of it."
This was the first time the inquest heard in detail the version of the events that led to the death of Manus Deery (inset right) in May 1972 from the soldiers' perspective.
The man who fired the fatal bullet, William Glasgow, died in 2001 - but his evidence was referred to during yesterday's proceedings.
Soldier B, who was 21 years of age at the time, and on his first and only tour of duty in Northern Ireland, told the court he came on observation duty at a Sanger on the Derry Walls overlooking the Bogside at 9pm and that William Glasgow started his duty at 10pm.
Soldier B said he witnessed a gunman run across Meenan Square from behind the Bogside Inn at 10.25pm and take up a position in an alleyway.
He passed this information to William Glasgow and asked him to take a look through the telescope.
William Glasgow confirmed the presence of the gunman and immediately discharged his weapon - a high-velocity rifle.
He said: "William said it looked like a person with a rifle. The next minute, he let a round go."
Soldier B said he then saw the bullet strike a wall above the gunman and then heard a scream.
He denied seeing any children in the alleyway, or anyone other than the gunman in the immediate area at the time of the shooting, but after the shot rang out, he heard "a girl screaming and I might have heard a few other voices."
Under questioning from the family's barrister, Fiona Doherty, Soldier B could not explain where the gunman went after William Glasgow discharged his weapon, despite having him in their sights before, and during, the shot being fired.
Quizzed about his knowledge of the Yellow Card rules which lay out when it is appropriate for a soldier to discharge his gun in Northern Ireland, Soldier B said the rules were 'drummed into him'.
He insisted several times that he did not think William Glasgow breached these rules, even though three different MOD documents submitted to the Coroner suggested this was the case.
The inquest continues today, when William Glasgow and Soldier B's commanding officer will be in the witness box.