Bloody Sunday and the Report of the Widgery Tribunal - Widgery Report and New Material; Points 191-230
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191. Lord Widgery failed to explore fully and reach a definitive finding on the nature and medical importance of the wounds inflicted on Gilmore. According to Dr. McClean, the entry wounds were on the extensor surface of the left forearm and on the right side of the chest with the long axis of the wound being downward and forward, centred 14 cms below and 7 cms behind the right nipple. The exit wounds were on the flexor surface of the left forearm and 13 cms below the left nipple. In his post mortem report, Dr. McClean said the following:
- It has been suggested that the four wounds mentioned would be in direct line, if the left forearm were flexed at the elbow with the palm facing the lower abdomen. I would not agree with this supposition as the track of the bullet in the forearm is indicated as being from left to right, whereas the bullet track through the abdomen is indicated as travelling from right to left across the trunk.
192. This interpretation would significantly alter the view of how Gilmore was shot and killed. Dr. McClean disagrees with Lord Widgery's finding that the bullet which killed Gilmore entered the left elbow and passed horizontally through his body. He does not believe that the one bullet which exited Gilmore's left lower chest and created a gaping wound of 6cms x 5cms could then have entered the left forearm and created a circular wound there of just 7 mms in diameter. Dr. McClean is firmly convinced that Gilmore was in fact shot twice. On this basis, it may well be the case that two soldiers from different positions shot and hit Gilmore and that, therefore, the eyewitness accounts of McDermott and Richmond were in fact complementary rather than contradictory as implied by Lord Widgery. This possibility illustrates the significance of the failure to call on Dr. McClean and other important eyewitnesses such as Sean McDermott and Frank Mellon in this case.
193. Lord Widgery's finding that an unidentified soldier at Kells Walk shot dead the unarmed Hugh Gilmore means Gilmore had to be facing the soldiers (since this, in Lord Widgery's mind, amounted to justification). The only explanation for Lord Widgery's bizarre choice of whom to believe is that he was more intent on concluding that the unarmed Gilmore faced the soldiers when he was shot than on determining who was most likely to have fired the fatal shot. Again, Lord Widgery appeared to be content that facing rather than fleeing the soldiers was sufficient grounds to explain why the soldiers shot at the victims in Rossville Street.
194. It is very clear from the eyewitness accounts, particularly that of Geraldine Richmond, supported by photographic evidence, that Hugh Gilmore was shot after Bernard McGuigan. The reasons why Lord Widgery chose to reverse that sequence remain a mystery.
Para 73. Age 41. This man was shot within a short distance of Gilmore, on the south side of No 2 Block of the Rossville Flats. According to Miss Richmond a wounded man was calling for help and Mr McGuigan, carrying a white handkerchief, deliberately left a position of cover to attend to him. She said that he was shot almost at once. Other civilian witnesses confirmed this evidence and photographs of McGuigan's body show the white handkerchief in question. (Mr Peress's EP 31/2 and 3 and EP 25/18.) Although there was some evidence that the shot came from Glenfada Park, which means that the soldier who fired might have been Soldier F, another possibility is that the shot came through the alleyway between Blocks 1 and 2. I cannot form any worthwhile conclusion on this point.
Para 74. Although the eye witnesses all denied that McGuigan had a weapon, the paraffin test disclosed lead deposits on the right palm and the web, back and palm of his left hand. The deposit on the right hand was in the form of a smear, those on the left hand were similar to the deposits produced by a firearm. The earlier photographs of McGuigan's body show his head uncovered but in a later one it is covered with a scarf. (Mr Grimaldi's EP 26/25.) The scarf showed a heavy deposit of lead, the distribution and density of which was consistent with the scarf having been used to wrap a revolver which had been fired several times. His widow was called to say that the scarf did not belong to him. I accept her evidence in concluding it is not possible to say that McGuigan was using or carrying a weapon at the time when he was shot. The paraffin test, however, constitutes ground for suspicion that he had been in close proximity to someone who had fired.
195. Geraldine Richmond gave very evocative and compelling accounts of how Barney McGuigan died. According to the proceedings of the Widgery Tribunal, she testified that after Gilmore was shot, she and some men were sheltering from the paratrooper shooting against a wall of Rossville Flats. They heard a wounded man in the direction of Joseph Place cry out: "I don't want to die [by] myself, I don't want to die [by] myself." She then testified:
- Mr. McGuigan then says, 'I can't stand this no longer. If I take a white handkerchief and go out they will not shoot me'. We tried to dissuade him from going out, but that man was determined to go and he took about four paces from the telephone box waving a white handkerchief and he got shot. I want to say that... Mr. McGuigan was only going to help see if he could find a man that was crying. That's all I want to say.
196. Ms Richmond provided the following statement to the NICRA/NCCL which was published in Eyewitness Bloody Sunday:
- The boy Gilmore stumbled.... I helped to carry him to where the telephone box was.... The man McGuigan was there at this time. Another man was lying at Fahan Street steps. I could hear him squealing but nobody could get to him because of the shooting. Mr. McGuigan said that he was going to try to reach him because he didn't want him to die alone. He took two steps forward and was then shot in the head. The other young boy was now dead... The young boy Gilmore had nothing in his hands. Neither had Mr. McGuigan - he only went to help somebody else.
197. The following is Patrick Clarke's account as published in Eyewitness Bloody Sunday.
- I covered up the body of Barney McGuigan with my jacket, removed his shoes and straightened his legs from the crumpled position he was lying in... Another lady came with a second blanket. This I then used to completely cover the body of Mr. McGuigan....
198. Lord Widgery's finding that there were grounds for suspicion that McGuigan had been in close proximity to someone who had fired deliberately fogs the horror of this killing. This view is reinforced by Lord Widgery's acceptance - qualified though it may be - that McGuigan was not using or carrying a weapon at the time he was shot. In fact, McGuigan - an unarmed man, going to the assistance of an injured person - was shot dead while clearly waving a white handkerchief. It should be noted also that Lord Widgery accepted that it was a white handkerchief and not a scarf that Mr. McGuigan was waving when he was shot dead. That was the substance of the evidence before Lord Widgery. It is extraordinary therefore that Lord Widgery, in his finding on McGuigan's death, devoted around half of his finding to forensic evidence which was not centrally relevant to the actual killing. Bernard McGuigan was unarmed when shot and the scarf was merely put on his head when he was lying dead on the ground.
199. Lord Widgery accepted that the scarf was not put on the deceased's head until some time after he had been shot. Photographic evidence was invoked in that regard. Mr. McGuigan's wife testified that the scarf did not belong to him. Patrick Clarke gives an account of putting his jacket and a lady later placing a sheet over McGuigan's body. If Clarke and other witnesses had been called to testify, more information on the source of the scarf might have been forthcoming.
200. Since the scarf was put on Mr. McGuigan's body some time after his death, it could not have contributed to the "ground for suspicion that he had been in close proximity to someone who had fired". At most, it may indicate that the person who put the scarf on Mr. McGuigan's head might have handled a firearm or had been in close proximity to somebody who had, though even this could have been disposed of by virtue of the weakness of the forensic tests. The new material tends to support the suspicion that McGuigan's hands may have been deliberately contaminated since the civilian eyewitness evidence, supported by photographic evidence, point clearly to the deceased, and those in close proximity to him, not having handled a firearm at any stage. Lord Widgery did not explore seriously, if at all, that possibility.
201. Lord Widgery's focus on the scarf exudes a sinister resonance when set against his failure to find on the medical possibility that Bernard McGuigan was shot dead by a dum-dum bullet. Dr. McClean noted in his report of the examination of McGuigan's body that there were 'several fragmented pieces of metal (about forty in number) throughout the interior of the skull space' and that there was 'gross pathological damage to the skull structure'. This medical evidence would tend to support Para AA's claim that dum-dums were used on the day.
202. While Lord Widgery, contrary to all the evidence presented to him, was prepared to besmirch the reputation of Barney McGuigan and those around him, he offered at the same time, not one word of judgement on the soldier who shot dead this man while waving a white handkerchief in the air. That Lord Widgery sought to call into question the integrity of McGuigan's act of selflessness compounded the unfairness and banality of the official account of how he died.
John Pius Young
Para 75. Age 17. This young man was one of three who were shot at the Rossville Street barricade by one of the cluster of 10 to 12 shots referred to by Mr Campbell (paragraph 58 above refers). (Mr Mailey's EP 23/4. Mr Mailey said that two men fell immediately after he took this photograph.) Young was undoubtedly associated with the youths who were throwing missiles at the soldiers from the barricade and the track of the bullet suggests that he was facing the soldiers at the time. Several soldiers, notably P, J, U, C, K, L and M all said that they fired from the Kells Walk area at men who were using firearms or throwing missiles from the barricade. It is not possible to identify the particular soldier who shot Young.
Para 76. The paraffin test disclosed lead particles on the web, back and palm of the left hand which were consistent with exposure to discharge gases from firearms. The body of Young, together with those of McDaid and Nash, was recovered from the barricade by soldiers of 1 Para and taken to hospital in an APC. It was contended at the hearing that the lead particles on Young's left hand might have been transferred from the hands of the soldiers who carried him or from the interior of the APC itself. Although these possibilities cannot be wholly excluded, the distribution of the particles seems to me to be more consistent with Young having discharged a firearm. When his case is considered in conjunction with those of Nash and McDaid and regard is had to the soldiers' evidence about civilians firing from the barricade a very strong suspicion is raised that one or more of Young, Nash and McDaid was using a firearm. No weapon was found but there was sufficient opportunity for this to be removed by others.
203. The deaths of Young, Nash and McDaid have given rise to considerable controversy, particularly in light of Don Mullan's thesis that they died as a result of shots fired from an elevated position in the vicinity of Derry Walls. The point has been made elsewhere that on this ground alone, the Widgery Report is fundamentally flawed in not having considered this possibility. The following accounts from Eyewitness Bloody Sunday illustrate the strength of the eyewitness conviction that shooting did in fact come from the Walls.
- I glanced behind and saw Saracens coming into Rossville Street. Within seconds a volley of shots rang out positively coming from the army for even though at this stage I was running looking for cover I can say with all certainty that the direction of the shooting was from outside the Bogside, namely junction of Rossville Street and from Derry Walls. Until I got cover from a house inside the Bogside there were at least three or four series of these bursts of high velocity gunfire still coming positively from the directions I have already mentioned. (Bríd Donaghy)
- One Saracen stopped at the waste ground and three or four soldiers jumped out and began to shoot recklessly into the unarmed fleeing crowd. I saw four boys fall to the ground and one of their bodies was dragged away by two of the soldiers. One of the soldiers actually aimed his rifle at me but suddenly changed his mind and fired instead at the crowd. I moved to Free Derry Corner where I had to lie flat on the ground as the soldiers fired from the city Walls. I then crept on my hands and knees to my aunt's house in St. Columb's Wells. (Teresa Cassidy)
- The soldiers were hitting people with the butts of rifles. I climbed over a roof of the outhouse of the flats. There was shooting on the far side coming from the Walls and Glenfada Park. I dived for cover and I saw a boy being shot at a barricade. There was already someone lying there. He seemed to be hit also as there was no movement from him. a bullet hit close by me coming from the direction of Glenfada Park or Columbcille Court. I saw two men crawling out, at the gap between the flats (where the shops are); one was shot. I helped lead a crowd of panicking people along the Walls. A priest pulled up in a red cross car. He was looking for injured people. He got out of the car. I told him to take cover. He had hardly done so when a bullet hit the far wall. It came from the Walls. We waited for ten minutes and then went away to safety. I helped to put about seven of the injured into cars. (Tony H.)
- Just after this we saw men crawling along the small wall in front of the shops at Joseph Place. They were protecting themselves because the army were firing from the army posts on the Walls. We then saw a few men dragging a body along at the same place. We looked down on the ground, directly below, in front of the shops and we saw another body lying on the ground very white and very still. One of the men using the small wall as protection came back and tried to reach the man lying in front of the shops. He tried several times to reach him but was forced back because of the shots coming from the Walls. (Agnes McGuinness)
- Bernadette Devlin had just got up on the platform when we heard an awful lot of shooting which was definitely directed towards the platform on which the meeting was just about to start. Everybody fell flat on their faces and some ran towards the gable of a house. I was at this gable and I looked up and saw soldiers on top of [the] Walls with their guns pointed down at us. Another volley of shots rang out from the Walls on the crowd and a bullet hit a 2 foot high cement pillar beside me. We then realised that they were shooting indiscriminately from the Walls into the crowd and we ran towards St. Columb's Wells. The people who had been lying on their faces also got up and ran towards St. Columb's Wells. As they did so the army fired constantly into the crowd and I heard that some people had been hit. (S.B.)
- I turned round facing Fahan Street where I witnessed men carrying a body from the courtyard that I came out of. This boy was taken into the house at the end of Joseph Place opposite the shops. While I was watching this I heard several shots coming from my left, i.e. Rossville Street. Two bullets actually hit the pavement in front of me. I fell flat and lay for a few minutes. I then crawled along the front of Joseph Place to an entrance to the back of the maisonettes. The shooting became heavier as I took cover here with many others including women who were screaming. After a few moments I thought of getting out the back but then I realised that there was shooting from the Walls. (Thomas Ralph Dawe)
- My aunt shouted to me that she saw a rifle aimed in our direction from the Walls (Derry Walls). I had just time to shout a warning to the fellas to clear when they opened up from the Walls and fired at where they were but they had moved just in time, one may have been hit. (Carol McCafferty)
- ... three Saracen armoured cars rushed up Rossville Street. We all moved in behind the barricade - a small amount of rubble situated in front of Rossville Flats... the Paras opened fire. We ran in the direction of Glenfada Park. As we reached here, two young men fell behind the barricade... another youth who had sought shelter was calling on help to recover the two other bodies from behind the barricade. As he ran out, he was shot down by a volley of gunfire... (M.J.J.)
204. The Breglio and McClean reports and the material offered in the Channel Four News broadcasts offer compelling evidence that supports the many eyewitness accounts of shooting from the Walls. The clear possibility that Young, Nash and McDaid died as a result of this fire was never properly considered in the course of the Inquiry and does not feature in the Widgery Report. This clearly represents a significant and fundamental flaw.
205. Lord Widgery asserted that there were grounds for "a strong suspicion that one or more of Young, Nash and McDaid was using a firearm." This ran counter to the three civilian eyewitnesses who testified at the Inquiry that no guns, petrol bombs or nail bombs were used by any people around the Rossville Street barricade. One of those who testified was Mr. James Chapman, a civil servant in the employ of the Army and previously a Warrant Officer in the Royal Regiment of Wales. He stated that the paratroopers opened fire without anybody at the barricade having fired at them or having thrown nail bombs. Another eyewitness, Mr. Ronald Wood, who was English born and had served twelve years in the Royal Navy, testified in similar terms. The eyewitness statements that are in the Government's possession bear out the accounts of Mr. Chapman and Mr. Wood. Only stones and similar debris were thrown.
206. Additionally, the reliability of the soldiers' evidence has been seriously undermined in the light of Prof. Walsh's report. Lord Widgery's judgement therefore about Young, Nash and McDaid must be clearly set aside since it was based in part on the evidence of the soldiers about the threat emanating from the barricade, a perception uniformly contradicted by the civilian eyewitnesses whose accounts were supported by the photographic evidence. Lord Widgery's speculation that some of those shot at the barricade were carrying weapons is revealed as a wholly unwarranted and, arguably, wilfully unfair imputation.
207. A disturbing feature concerning the deaths of Young, Nash and McDaid is the manner in which the bodies were treated by the soldiers. The appalling lack of respect, to put it mildly, in the manner in which they were treated is well illustrated by the following eyewitness accounts.
- ... a saracen came through the barricade near the boys who lay there. The boys were pulled by their arms and clothing off the barricade. At no time did the soldiers examine them to ascertain if they were dead. The elderly man was trying to reason with the soldiers but was butted and pushed away... The soldiers took arms and legs and threw the young men's bodies one after the other into the saracen. After this I was sick.
- I watched while the military dragged two of these three victims (I don't know if they were dead) to the second Saracen. They came back then for the third boy and dragged him over also. Six soldiers lifted the first two boys and threw them into the car just as if they were pigs. The third they lifted to throw him in too when to my horror I saw an officer with two epaulettes of two pips plus a crown (a Lieutenant-Colonel) kick this boy with his right boot as the men threw him into the car....
- .. A saracen tank approached the bodies. Soldiers got out and tossed the bodies into the back of the saracen like coal into a bunker, showing no respect for the dead. I could see soldiers smiling over their dead. (William Bridge)
208. In addition to the disrespect, there was a complete failure to take any cognisance of the removal of the bodies in terms of the integrity of forensic evidence. The nature of the removal almost certainly contaminated the bodies with lead and completely undermined any possible inference on this score. A BBC 1 television documentary entitled "Remember Bloody Sunday", broadcast on 28 January 1992, recreated the forensic tests used at the time on the bodies of Nash, Young and McDaid and established that the nature of the removal by the Paras would result in a positive test for lead. Don Mullan has made the point that despite the presence of other bodies close by, only the bodies of Nash, Young and McDaid were retrieved by 1 Para and that they were only brought to Altnagelvin Hospital after 6.00pm. The particular treatment of these remains, considered in conjunction with the suggestion that they were killed by shots fired from the vicinity of the Walls, not only undermines Lord Widgery's assertions based on forensic tests carried out on the victims but also raises legitimate questions about why they were selected for such prompt removal.
209. Perhaps most disturbing of all was the failure to check if in fact the victims were actually deceased at the time of their removal by the British Army. It does not appear that any medical assistance was readily available from the British Army if the victims were still alive as claimed in the case of McDaid (see account of John Gorman below). This failure was compounded by the widespread and at times violent hindrance on the part of the soldiers to the Order of Malta when its uniformed members were attempting to render assistance.
210. In the statements given to the Government in 1972, there are numerous emphatic assertions that there were no guns or nail bombs being used against the British Army. They confirm the version of events given by the civilians to Lord Widgery that no firearms, petrol bombs or nail bombs were used in the vicinity of the Rossville Street barricade and that only stones and other such debris were used against the Army.
211. Lord Widgery's almost exclusive reliance - in his finding - on highly dubious forensic evidence which he invoked as supporting the soldiers' versions of events creates very strong grounds to contend that Lord Widgery consciously chose to accept a version of events at odds with the evidence. In contrast to the military eyewitnesses (who were in any event implicated in unlawful killings), the civilian eyewitness statements were internally consistent, mutually corroborating, and remained fully uniform in substance as between the versions given to NICRA/NCCL and later to the Widgery Tribunal. The civilian eyewitnesses all attested to the fact that at the time of their deaths, neither Young, McDaid nor Nash was using a firearm. Their evidence is all one way in that regard and is in direct conflict with the soldiers' versions of events. Lord Widgery's implicit judgement that all of the civilians erred or were lying beggars belief.
212. In addition, Denis Patrick McLaughlin stated that a short time after the shootings at the barricade, soldiers appeared and moved the civilians present on. Having regard to the unique circumstances of the situation and the eyewitness accounts of them, serious doubt is cast on Lord Widgery's finding that there was sufficient opportunity for firearms to have been removed by others. The evidence points to a virtual improbability that the soldiers who arrested the people sheltering against the wall could possibly have failed to see, and recover, a firearm at the barricade if one was there - especially if the weapon was a sub-machine gun as alleged by Captain 028 (paragraph 52 of the Widgery Report). Not one of the many eyewitnesses, including soldiers and photographers, in the vicinity of that barricade saw that machine gun.
213. Finally, one might usefully recall the conclusion of Prof. Dash that "since the testimony of the civilian witnesses and Army witnesses is so irreconcilably conflicting as to these deaths, one of these groups of witnesses must have testified falsely. It would appear that there was a greater motive for paratroopers to lie in defence of their shooting and killing of civilians, than for the civilian witnesses. The civilian witnesses who actually came to the Inquiry to give testimony were exceptional, in light of the general reluctance of civilian eyewitnesses in Londonderry to cooperate with an English Inquiry." The new material - given very shortly after the Widgery Report was issued and based on the same evidence as that presented to Lord Widgery - emphatically endorses this conclusion.
Para 77. Age 20. This man was shot when close to Young at the Rossville Street barricade. The bullet struck him in the front in the left cheek. The paraffin test disclosed abnormal lead particle density on his jacket and one large particle of lead on the back of the right hand. Any of the soldiers considered in connection with the death of Young might equally well have shot McDaid. Dr Martin thought that the lead density was consistent with McDaid having handled a firearm, but I think it more consistent with his having been in close proximity to someone firing.
214. The observations regarding the death of Young in terms of the allegation of the use of firearms, the quality of the forensic tests, the reliability of soldiers' statements and the evidently partisan conclusion of Lord Widgery apply equally to the death of Michael McDaid. The photographic evidence (as published in Eyewitness Bloody Sunday) moments before his death clearly demonstrate that McDaid, dressed in his Sunday best, was unarmed and moving away from the advancing soldiers in Rossville Street. Far from being aggressive, his expression is one of concern and anxiety as he glances at the dying Michael Kelly being ministered to by other civilians, including Don Mullan himself. Moments later, McDaid is shot through the left cheek.
215. Lord Widgery referred to the entry wound in his finding but failed to refer to the exit wound which was below the right scapula - the line of trajectory being clearly downwards. Had Lord Widgery done so and had he not ignored the medical evidence of the Assistant State Pathologist (Dr. John Press), he would have had to acknowledge and explain how McDaid was shot from an elevated position. Had he heeded civilians who had witnessed his death, he would have had to acknowledge also that McDaid was shot while facing the vicinity of the Derry Walls. Had Lord Widgery done that, he would consequently have had to explain how McDaid was shot in the head, from an elevated position, and while facing toward the vicinity of Derry Walls. Had he come to this point, he would certainly have had to abandon - at least in part - the very narrow geographical limits he had imposed on the Inquiry to include the activity of the British Army on the Walls.
216. Even on his own terms, while Lord Widgery accepted that McDaid himself was not handling a weapon, he failed to make any comment whatsoever on the fact that McDaid was, therefore, unlawfully killed by the British Army.
217. Alice Long, a Superintendent with the Order of Malta, says this about the removal of bodies from the area of the barricade:
- Captain Day noticed three soldiers guarding a Saracen. An officer appeared and shouted not to let anyone come near the Saracen. The soldier closed the door again. I got a glimpse inside and saw three bodies lying in a heap. The one on top was wearing a light coloured coat and seemed to have a wound in the face.
218. A particularly disturbing, not to say grisly, feature of the death of Michael McDaid, is claimed in the account related by one of the eyewitnesses, Mr John Gorman: "When I was at the wall at Glenfada Park, I saw Michael McDaid alive being put into a Saracen by Paratroopers in Rossville Street. Later that night, I learned that he was dead..."
219. Neither Captain Day nor Alice Long were called to testify at the Widgery Tribunal. If they had been, Counsel for the next of kin would have been able, on the basis of Long's statement alone, to cross-examine Army witnesses more fully on the forensic evidence relating to Young, Nash and McDaid - particularly, the whole question of forensic contamination and possibly on whether McDaid was alive when he was removed from the barricade.
220. While Mr. Gorman, an ex-serviceman with the Royal Enniskillen Fusiliers and the Ulster Defence Regiment, did testify at the Widgery Tribunal, it was not adjudged serious enough to warrant mention in the Report. That in itself is a reflection not only of the quality of the Report but the quality of justice which informed its authorship.
William Noel Nash
Para 78. Age 19. He also was close to Young and McDaid at the Rossville Street barricade and the three men were shot almost simultaneously. The bullet entered his chest from the front and particles of lead were detected on the web, back and palm of his left hand with a distribution consistent with his having used a firearm. Soldier P (who can be seen in Mr Mailey's photographs EP 23/7 and 8; he is looking up the alleyway in No 7) spoke of seeing a man firing a pistol from the barricade and said that he fired four shots at this man, one of which hit him in the chest. He thought that the pistol was removed by other civilians. In view of the site of the injury it is possible that soldier P has given an accurate account of the death of Nash.
221. The following eyewitness accounts which appear to describe the death of William Nash are drawn from those given to the Government in 1972 and do not appear in Eyewitness Bloody Sunday. Had a reasonable number of the civilian eyewitnesses been called and had their accounts been subjected to cross-examination and corroboration by comparison with other sources of evidence, it would in all likelihood have been possible to clarify the exact circumstances of his death.
- I saw two soldiers, one with an SLR and one with a rubber bullet gun firing them in the direction of Free Derry Corner.... I moved around the back of Columcille Court to cross over to the Flats... when I moved across the street at the barricades, I saw two lads lying on top.... another lad moved over beside me at the barricade... Just then the lad I was with fell backwards and said "I am hit"... I saw a hole in his stomach.... He just lay still... I lay flat on my stomach just behind the three bodies.... I took refuge in a house and lay on the floor behind the back room window.... After several minutes I could hear English voices outside the window. I heard soldiers laughing and one made the remark to the effect "how many did we get"?... I can quite definitely say that I heard no shots before the Army fired. I can tell the difference between Army shots and other gun shots....
222. The following statement was published by Mullan.
- ... I saw a man dressed in a brown suit and with black hair running over the loose stones of the barricade towards Free Derry Corner. As I caught sight of him, he fell back and rolled over on his mouth and nose on the Free Derry side of the barricade. He was no more than three to four yards from me. He was unarmed in any way. He began screaming and I realised he had been shot. I then saw a friend of mine, George Roberts,... crawl over to his side... and he told me the man was dead. (Denis McLaughlin)
223. The civilian eyewitness evidence is emphatic on the point that Mr. William Noel Nash, and those in proximity to him, were not using firearms or bombs when the Army opened fire. Lord Widgery failed to give due weight to this compelling body of eyewitness material. William Nash is one of the three victims identified in Mullan's thesis as having been shot from the vicinity of Derry Walls. The observations made in relation to the deaths of Young and McDaid apply therefore equally to him in terms of the entry and exit wound, the line of trajectory, the direction and source of fire, the removal of his remains and the likelihood of contamination. The new material, particularly that provided by Breglio, McClean and Thomas, are all highly relevant to any consideration of the manner in which Nash was killed. Lord Widgery's findings in regard to Nash, therefore, must be set aside as fundamentally flawed.
224. Lord Widgery's reliance on the testimony of soldier P has been completely undermined by the revelations contained in Prof. Walsh's report. The various statements made by him not alone were at variance with the facts but were riven with a litany of contradictions and substantive discrepancies. Had they been revealed at the time, they would have thoroughly discredited him as a witness. On this ground alone, Lord Widgery's pronouncements on the death of William Nash were wholly unreliable and must be deemed wilfully misleading.
225. Dr. McClean notes that Lord Widgery accepted that Nash was shot in the chest from the front but then directly moves to the alleged presence of lead particles on Nash's left hand to suggest that Nash had been using a firearm. As Dr. McClean points out, Lord Widgery "disregards any discussion relating to the exit wound and thereby discounts any discussion relating to the trajectory line through the body." He goes on: "The post mortem evidence indicates quite clearly that the angle of the bullet through the body was approximately 45 degrees [to the horizontal plane]. If William Nash was standing upright or nearly upright, then he must have been shot from above. He could not have been shot from ground level."
226. Dr. McClean also notes that in his evidence to the Tribunal, Dr. John Press, the Assistant State Pathologist who carried out the official post-mortem examinations of William Nash, Michael McDaid and John Young, stated that "both Michael McDaid and John Young were shot in the left cheek and would have died almost instantly. Had they been standing upright when they were shot, then the shot must have been fired from above and slightly to the left. It was possible that the two men were shot from the same position." Yet Lord Widgery took no account of this in his Report and suggested instead that any one of a number of soldiers in the Kells Walk area could have shot any or all of these men. As Dr. McClean concludes, "the similarity of the trajectory lines through the three bodies would suggest that this was not haphazard shooting from different soldiers, at different angles, at ground level. The evidence as established, would indicate that these men were shot from a location above them, and possibly by a marksman or marksmen, firing from the same position."
Para 79. Mr Alexander Nash, father of William Nash, was wounded at the barricade. From a position of cover he saw that his son had been hit and went to help him. As he did so he himself was hit in the left arm. The medical opinion was that the bullet came from a low velocity weapon and Soldier U described seeing Mr Nash senior hit by a revolver shot fired from the entrance to the Rossville Flats. The soldier saw no more than the weapon and the hand holding it. I think that the most probable explanation of this injury is that it was inflicted by a civilian firing haphazardly in the general direction of the soldiers without exposing himself enough to take proper aim.
227. Alexander Nash described the circumstances in which he was wounded in the following account.
- I heard shooting and thought it was gas and rubber bullets, so I turned and went back to see what was happening. I saw three men lying on the small stone barricade in Rossville St. I looked and saw that one of the men was my son William... I ran across to help him... I put my left hand in the air to signal that the shooting should stop. I was shot in that arm and was hit in the ribs also. When I was hit, I was fired at four or five times. I dropped down beside Willie and the other two men. I put my hand on my son's back and said "Willie!". His eyes were wide open but I knew straight away that he was dead and that the other two were dead too.... I wish to state further that my son Willie had £3 with him and was wearing a distinctive signet ring when he left the house on Sunday. When his clothes were returned to us, the money and the ring were missing. (Alexander Nash)
228. The following eyewitness accounts starkly describe this poignant event involving Alexander Nash and his son William.
- ... Soldiers stood in the back gates of the Chamberlain Street house and behind a burned out van near what was once Eden Place and continued to shoot in the courtyard of the flats.... I saw an elderly man take cover on the barricade. He wore a blue suit and cap. He raised himself to a kneeling position and put his hand up in a waving gesture towards the soldiers. I saw him put up three fingers and I understood he was telling the soldiers that there were three bodies there who need medical or spiritual attention. Immediately he was shot. I saw him clutch his arm. He lay down but made an effort to get up again. More shots were fired at him. One hit a lamp standard just in front of him, the others hit the barricade near his head.... My husband recognised the elderly man wounded at the barricade as Alex Nash, but at the time we did not know that his son William was one of the three young men shot there.
- ... Three boys fell beside a home-made barricade outside the Flats. I heard a man call "That's my son..." It was Mr. Nash. As he raised both hands to show he was unarmed more shots came from the Army and he was wounded. One of the three boys at the barricade was Mr. Nash's son William. He was dead...(Mary Harkin)
- Three fellows were lying against the barricade when a man came along and started to shake them. He realised they were dead so he tried to wave to the soldiers... I saw soldiers with steel helmets on their heads. They shot at him and he was wounded on the arm. He raised his arm and they shot again. The man fell down.(B. Marie)
229. Since Lord Widgery was not disputing Alexander Nash's claim to have been fired at a number of times, he was therefore in effect proposing that a civilian first fired a haphazard shot at soldiers, accidentally hitting Mr. Nash yards in front of him at the barricade; and that either the same civilian then fired haphazardly four or five times almost hitting the same victim again; or that the Army perhaps fired three or four times at the civilian with a revolver but they could only manage to nearly shoot again the victim whom the alleged gunman had just hit. In other words, Lord Widgery would have us believe that Alexander Nash was the inadvertent target of both a civilian gunman and the British Army. Yet the civilian eyewitness statements contain no reference to a civilian gunman and all agree that the British Army shot Mr. Alexander Nash while he was signaling that fire should cease while he made a futile attempt to help his dying or dead son. Alexander Nash's hurt and grief were to be compounded further by the British Army when 'an R.S.M. of the paratroopers' denied for some time the administration of spiritual assistance to Young, Nash and McDaid while their remains were inside a Saracen.
230. The eyewitness statements directly contradict soldier U's account of a revolver having been fired from the entrance to Rossville Flats. Prof. Walsh makes clear that soldier U failed to make any reference to this incident in his original statement. Combined with other changes, this clearly makes him unreliable. However, as Prof. Walsh also points out, soldier U's subsequent testimony at the Tribunal was inconsistent and contradicted known facts (e.g. soldier U claimed to have seen William Nash struck on the head; William Nash was not struck on the head). Furthermore, Prof. Walsh points out that the bullet which wounded Alexander Nash was not recovered and the medical evidence was based only on the notion that an Army bullet could normally be expected to cause more damage. The Tribunal, he writes, "ignored the fact that U's account was patently wrong as far as William Nash was concerned". Yet Lord Widgery was content to rely on it regarding the cause of Alexander Nash's wound. The new material dictates that Lord Widgery's judgement on how Alexander Nash came to be wounded must be set aside.
Para 80. Age 17. Kelly was shot while standing at the Rossville Street barricade in circumstances similar to those already described in the cases of Young, Nash and McDaid. The bullet entered his abdomen from the front which disposes of a suggestion in the evidence that he was running away at the time. The bullet was recovered and proved that Kelly was shot by Soldier F, who described having fired one shot from the Kells Walk area at a man at the barricade who was attempting to throw what appeared to be a nail bomb.....
Para 81. The lead particle density on Kelly's right cuff was above normal and was, I think, consistent with his having been close to someone using a firearm. This lends further support to the view that someone was firing at the soldiers from the barricade, but I do not think that this was Kelly nor am I satisfied that he was throwing a bomb at the time when he was shot.
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