08 Aug 2022

Bloody Sunday: Legal submissions to the Public Prosecution Service on Michael Kelly, William McKinney, Gerard McKinney and Gerard Donaghey


Michael Kelly was 17-years-old when he was shot dead on Bloody Sunday at a rubble barricade on Rossville Street. He was hit by a single shot in the abdomen as he faced north along the street towards a group of soldiers.

The findings of the Saville Inquiry said there was no doubt the teenager was shot by Lance Corporal F because the round that killed Michael Kelly was forensically tested and matched to the rifle of that soldier.

'F' made four statements to the Royal Military Police following Bloody Sunday-two on January 31, and again on February 4 and February 15, 1972. In none of the statements did he mention firing any shots in the direction of the rubble blockade.

Instead, Lance Corporal F claimed he fired four aimed rounds at a window high up on Block 1 of the Rossville Flats followed by another four aimed rounds at a different window in the flats complex.

'F' did not recall firing any bullets at the barricade until he made a further statement to a Lieutenant Colonel Overbury, a solicitor and an Assistant Director of the Army Legal Services at the Ministry of Defence on February 19, 1972.

In that statement he said he fired a shot at a man about to throw a bomb behind the rubble barricade. He said the device was large and had sparks coming from it. He also claimed, as on previous occasions, that two nail bombs had exploded near him as he moved towards Rossville Flats.

However, Lance Corporal F's role on Bloody Sunday was not confined to Sector 3. The Saville Tribunal found it more probable than not that either 'F' or Private H fatally wounded William McKinney and one or other of these soldiers were also responsible for wounding Joe Mahon and Joe Friel in Sector 4.

The Tribunal also asserted that Lance Corporal F shot dead Patrick Doherty and Bernard McGuigan in Sector 5 and that it was very likely that he also wounded Daniel McGowan and Patrick Campbell in the same area.

Amongst Saville's conclusions was a statement that 'F's' evidence could not be relied upon and he didn't tell the truth when he told the Tribunal he had no recollection of his actions on Bloody Sunday.

Also, there was no evidence that any of the casualties in Sector 3 was or might have been shot by accident and 'F's' claims that he fired at a nail bomber was also rejected. In addition, said the Tribunal, the fact that the soldier took many days to admit firing at the barricade but instead invented an account of firing at Rossville Flats meant that it couldn't be believed that he fired at someone posing a threat of death or serious injury. But, that in any event, he did fire at someone.

Saville further stated that it was implausible that Lance Corporal F's explanation that he had forgotten about shooting Michael Kelly or another man in Sector 5 until he was shown maps and photographs of the areas in question.

Madden and Finucane recommended to the Public Prosecution Service that Lance Corporal F be prosecuted for perjury because of the "untruthful evidence" he gave on oath at the Bloody Sunday Inquiry and for perverting the course of justice because of the evidence he hid from the Inquiry. The legal submission also recommends that the prosecution service prosecute 'F' for the murder of Michael Kelly and perjury in relation to his sworn evidence.

Hugh Gilmour was 17-years-old when he was killed on January 30, 1972. He sustained two gunshot wounds to his torso and two more to his left forearm as he attempted to run away from the soldiers positioned in Rossville Street in what became known as Sector 3.

Saville concluded that Mr Gilmour was shot by Private U. This soldier made two statements about his actions to the Royal Military Police on January 31, 1972 one of which was included in the Widgery Inquiry. He also gave oral evidence to that Inquiry.

'U' said that he had disembarked from Sergeant O's vehicle on waste ground at Rossville Street an immediately became involved in the arrest of a civilian. After this, he said he moved to the north western corner of the Rossville Flats where he came under fire from waste ground at the far end of the flats. He stated that he heard 30 shots but could not see where they were coming from.

Private U also claimed have witnessed a man about 150 metres from his position standing in the middle of a group of about five men holding a pistol in his right hand who fired two shots at soldiers on the opposite side of the road. He said he fired one aimed shot at this man from a standing position that struck the supposed gunman in the stomach and he jerked back and fell to the ground clutching his head.

'U' also claimed in another statement to have seen four or five shots landing near the Company Commander's vehicle, that he aimed at the centre of the gunman's body and shot him and reported this to his Sergeant Major.

However, Saville concluded that the Sergeant Major had no recollection of Private U making such a statement to him. The Tribunal also asserted that no evidence from any source exists to suggest that anyone was shot in the position that Private U gives for the man he says he fired at.

In addition, Saville concluded that it was "beyond belief" that a man in full view of a number of soldiers, away from any cover, would open fire at troops with a pistol. And, that Private U knowingly gave a false account of firing to hide the fact that it was unjustified.

Madden and Finucane also recommended that Private U be prosecuted for perjury for giving untruthful evidence to the Bloody Sunday Inquiry and for withholding information in light of the fact that Saville concluded he remembered much more than he was prepared to say. They also recommended that Private U be charged with the murder of Hugh Gilmour.

Madden and Finucane also represent the families of three other men shot dead on Bloody Sunday-William McKinney, Gerard McKinney and Gerard Donaghey. They also represent Joe Mahon,  Joe Friel and Patsy O'Donnell who were wounded on the day. Mr O'Donnell is now deceased.

William McKinney (26) was shot at Glenfada Park. The fatal round caused two bullet wounds. The bullet entered the right side of his back when through his abdomen, exited the lower part of his chest on the left hand side and passed through his left forearm.

Gerard McKinney was 35-years-old and was married with seven children. An eighth child was born days after Bloody Sunday. Mr McKinney was shot dead in Abbey Park a short distance from where William McKinney and Jim Wray were killed and where Joe Mahon, Joe Friel and Michael Quinn were wounded.

Gerard McKinney had one bullet wound, 15 centimetres below the left armpit.

17-year-old Gerald Donaghey was killed close to where Gerry McKinney was shot. He sustained a single bullet wound in his abdomen. He was close to Gerry McKinney when he was struck and it's possible that the same bullet killed both men.

All of the men where hit in what became known as Sector 4. Saville concluded that all of these casualties were inflicted by only Corporal E, Lance Corporal F and Private H. All the soldiers were members of the Anti-Tank Platoon.

The Saville Inquiry concluded that Lieutenant 119, the Anti-Tank Platoon commander did not give any orders for these soldiers to enter Glenfada Park. It was also concluded that Corporal E was also responsible for wounding Patsy O'Donnell and that either Lance Corporal F or Private H fired the round that killed William McKinney and that the same two soldiers are in the frame for wounding Joe Mahon and Joe Friel.

Forensics established that the round recovered from Gerald Donaghey's body matched the rifle of Private G-so it follows that if the same round also killed Gerard McKinney then 'H' is responsible for that death too.

The submission to the prosecution from Madden and Finucane states that there is enough evidence for a successful prosecution for the murders of William McKinney, Gerard McKinney and Gerald Donaghey and the attempted murder of Joe Friel, Joe Mahon and Patsy O'Donnell. They also recommended that charges of perjury be laid against these soldiers,

The Madden and Finucane submission states: "In our view, Corporal E, Lance Corporal F, Private G and Private H, acted in joint enterprise to murder William McKinney and to attempt to murder Joe Friel, Joe Mahon and Patsy O'Donnell among others in Glenfada Park and to murder Gerard McKinney and Gerald Donaghey in Abbey Park.

"It is clear that each of those who opened fire, with high velocity rifles, did so in order to kill, in accordance worth their training and orders to do so."

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