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20/09/2021

Emotional scenes as Derry man shot dead by British soldier 50 years ago remembered

Family vow to keep fighting for justice for Billy McGreanery

Emotional scenes as Derry man shot dead by British soldier 50 years ago remembered

Billy McGreanery's nephew and niece, Billy and Marjorie, pictured at tonight's commemorative event

There were emotional scenes tonight as a Derry man shot dead by a British soldier in the city was remembered on the 50th anniversary of his death.

Billy McGreanery was shot dead by a member of the Grenadier Guards while walking in the Laburnum Terrace area of the Bogside shortly before midnight on September 14, 1971. He died later while being operated on at Altnagelvin Hospital.

A single man, he was aged 41 and well-known in the city, having worked in local sports/shoe shop.

He was shot at the junction of Eastway, Lone Moor Road and Westland Street.

The soldier who fired the shot from an observation post within the grounds of the nearby Essex factory claimed he had opened fire on a gunman but an investigation by the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) on the 40th anniversary of the killing found Mr McGreanery was unarmed.

Following that investigation, the British Ministry of Defence apologised for the killing. However, no one has ever been charged in connection with the killing.

At the time of Mr Greanery's death in 1971, Derry's leading police officer Frank Lagan and another senior RUC man determined the soldier responsible, known as Soldier A, should be prosecuted for the murder of the 41-year-old.

However, the recommendation was quickly quashed by then Attorney General Sir Basil Kelly.

Speaking at tonight's commemorative event, held close to the spot where he was killed, Mr McGreanery's nephew, also called Billy, said they would continue to fight until they got justice.

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