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05 Oct 2022

Saville’s findings on how the Bloody Sunday victims died

Bloody Sunday: Saville’s findings on how the victims died

An independent public inquiry was set up to look into the events of 30th January, 1972 on how the Bloody Sunday victims died. The following is from Lord Saville’s findings which were published in June 2010. 

John Johnston – who died only months after Bloody Sunday

“John Johnston was hit accidently from fragments of the shots fired at Damien Donaghy in William Street. Damien Donaghy was not posing a threat of causing death or serious injury. The evidence of Corporal A and Private B was that the person they shot was about to throw a nail bomb in their direction. This was not the case, though Damien Donaghy had been previously been throwing stones at the soldiers and might have been about to do so again.”


Jackie Duddy

“Jackie Duddy was running away from the soldiers when he was shot. He probably had a stone in his hand at the time. Private R may have thought that Jackie Duddy might have been about to throw a bomb and shot him for this reason, but we are sure that he could not have been sufficiently confident about this to conclude that he was justified in firing. It is possible that Private R fired in a state of panic, giving no proper thought to whether his target was posing a threat of causing death or serious injury.”


Michael Kelly

“In Rossville Street, Lance Corporal F fired from the low walls of Kells Walk ramp and killed Michael Kelly, who was behind the rubble barricade on Rossville Street, some 80 yards away. Initially Lance Corporal F said nothing about this shot but later he admitted that he had fired, falsely claiming that this was at a nail bomber.

"In our view Lance Corporal F did not fire in panic or fear, without giving proper thought to whether he had identified a person posing a threat of causing death or serious injury. We are sure that he instead fired either in the belief that no one at the rubble barricade was posing a threat of causing death or serious injury, or not caring whether or not anyone at the rubble barricade was posing such a threat.”


William Nash, John Young and Michael McDaid – all killed at the rubble barricade at Rossville Street

“Corporal P claimed that he fired at a man with a pistol; Lance Corporal J claimed that he fired at a nail bomber; and Corporal E claimed that he fired at a man with a pistol in the Rossville Flats.

"We reject each of these claims as knowingly untrue. We are sure that these soldiers fired either in the belief that no one in the areas towards which they respectively fired was posing a threat of causing death or serious injury, or not caring whether or not anyone there was posing such a threat. In their cases we consider that they did not fire in a state of fear or panic.”


Hugh Gilmour

“We take the same view of the shot that we are sure Private U fired at Hugh Gilmour, mortally wounding this casualty as he was running away from soldiers. We reject as knowingly untrue Private U’s account of firing at a man with a handgun.”


Kevin McElhinney

“Either Private L or Private M shot and mortally wounded Kevin McElhinney as he was crawling away from the soliders. These solders...gave evidence that they had seen two people, one or both with rifles, crawling away from the rubble barricade. Their targets were crawling away and not posing an immediate threat of causing death or serious injury. These shots were not fired in fear or panic.”


Willie McKinney and Jim Wray 

“We have identified Corporal E, Lance Corporal F, Private G and Private H as the soldiers who went into Glenfada Park North, between them killing William McKinney and Jim Wray, injuring Joe Mahon, Joe Friel, Michael Quinn and Patrick O’Donnell, and possibly injuring Daniel Gillespie.

"All claimed that they had identified and shot at people in possession of or seeking to use bombs or firearms. In our view none of these soldiers fired in the belief that he had or might have identified a person in possession of or using or about to use bombs or firearms. William McKinney and Jim Wray were both shot in the back and none of the other casualties (with the possible exception of Daniel Gillespie) appears to have been facing the soldiers when shot. All four soldiers denied shooting anyone on the ground.

"However, Jim Wray was shot for a second time in the back, probably as he lay mortally wounded in the south-western corner of Glenfada Park North. Whichever soldier was responsible for firing the second shot, we are sure that he must have known that there was no possible justification for shooting Jim Wray as he lay on the ground.”


Gerard McKinney and Gerald Donaghey

“Private G shot Gerard McKinney in Abbey Park...his shot passed through this casualty and mortally wounded Gerald Donaghey. Private G may not have been aware that his shot had had this additional effect. Private G falsely denied that he had fired in Abbey Park. He did not fire in fear or panic and we are sure that he must have fired knowing that Gerard McKinney was not posing a threat of causing death or serious injury.

Gerald Donaghey was taken by car to the Regimental Aid Post of 1st Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment, which was at the western end of Craigavon Bridge, which spans the River Foyle. There four nail bombs were found in his pockets. The question arose as to whether the nail bombs were in his pockets when he was shot, or had been planted on him later by the security forces.

We have considered that substantial amount of evidence relating to this question and have concluded, for reasons that we give, that the nail bombs were probably on Gerald Donaghey when he was shot.

However, we are sure that Gerald Donaghey was not preparing or attempting to throw a nail bomb when he was shot; and we are equally sure that he was not shot because of his possession of nail bombs. He was shot while trying to escape from the soldiers.


Bernard McGuigan and Patrick Doherty

“Bernard McGuigan was shot in the head and killed instantly as he was waving a piece of cloth and moving out from the cover afforded by the southern end wall of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats.

Further to the east Patrick Doherty was shot in the buttock and mortally wounded as he was attempting to crawl to safety across the area that lay on the southern side of Block 2 of the Rossville Flats.

We have no doubt that Lance Corporal F shot Patrick Doherty and Bernard McGuigan.

In 1972 Lance Corporal F initially said nothing about firing along the pedestrianised area on the southern side of Block 2 of the Rossville Flats, but later admitted that he had done so.

No other soldier claimed or admitted to firing into this area. Lance Corporal F’s claim that he had fired at a man who had (or, in one account, was firing) a pistol was to his knowledge false.

Lance Corporal F did not fire in a state of fear or panic.

We are sure that he fired either in the belief that no one in the areas into which he fired was posing a threat of causing death or serious injury, or not caring whether or not anyone there was posing such a threat.”

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