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10 April 2017

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Derry 15-year-old shot dead by British sniper was not carrying rifle – coroner’s judgment 45 years later

● Manus Deery – ‘He was definitely armed with a rifle,’ claimed British Army killer

‘Manus was an innocent child whose young life was brutally taken from him’ – his sister Helen

A 15-YEAR-OLD shot dead in Derry City by a British soldier in May 1972 – just weeks after the Bloody Sunday massacre of civil rights marchers by the Parachute Regiment – was “totally innocent”, a coroner said on Monday.

And the coroner’s declaration that Manus Deery did not pose a threat to anyone  effectively demolishes claims by his killer and a fellow soldier that they had clearly seen the youngster carrying a rifle.

He was eating chips at the time with a group of teenage friends when he was shot in the head by a soldier from an observation post on the city’s walls.

The Ministry of Defence only publicly acknowledged at the closing of the inquest on 21 November of last year that Manus was not a member of any armed organisation.

The teenager’s killer was identified at the inquest last year as Private William Glasgow, who had died in 2001.

Glasgow’s statement to the Royal Military Police said that on 19 May 1972 he was told by another soldier (witness ‘Soldier B’) that he had seen a male person “armed with a rifle in the trail position” at the rear of the Bogside Inn.

Glasgow added that he “observed the rear of the Bogside Inn, through the telescope, and also saw the male person armed with a rifle”.

The statement went on to say this person was “standing inside an archway against the right wall" and said definitively:

“He was definitely armed with a rifle.”

Helen Deery, Manus’s sister, said during the inquest:

“Manus was an innocent child whose young life was brutally taken from him.

“He did nothing wrong.

“At the beginning, the British Army claimed that he was a gunman – that wasn’t true. He wasn’t rioting either.

“Manus was eating a bag of chips and chatting to his friends when a soldier opened fire on him.”

The “happy-go-lucky” teenager had received his first pay packet from working in the Thomas French factory only hours before he was killed.

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