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6 December 2001 Edition

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Eyewitnesses describe Bloody Sunday slaughter

BY FERN LANE


One of the witnesses giving evidence to the Bloody Sunday inquiry has said that those soldiers who subsequently received honours from the queen should be made hand them back.

Donna Harkin, who was 16 years old in 1972, told the inquiry how she saw Patrick Doherty being killed as he attempted to crawl to safety, and said that the soldier responsible for his death was a "coward". Giving evidence, Harkin told how she had been dragged into one of the Rossville flats to safety when the shooting started. She watched as five men crawled towards Joseph Place, pulling an elderly man into an alleyway. One of the men who helped him was Patrick Doherty, who was shot as he lay on the ground trying to get to safety.

"Mr Doherty jolted. His body jerked off the ground. He landed on his front in the same position that he had been lying with his head towards the alleyway east of Joseph Place," she said. "Mr Doherty was murdered and there is a lot of photographs showing Mr Doherty in his final moments and I believe he was an innocent man that was murdered. It was a coward that shot Mr Doherty, not even shooting him in the back. They shot him as he was crawling away, trying to save himself."

Kevin and Carmel McCallion, who married after Bloody Sunday, were also at the tribunal giving evidence this week. They told the inquiry how they went separately to the civil rights march but encountered each other as the shooting started. Carmel McCallion said that as they attempted to take cover at Joseph Place, British soldiers were also firing at marchers from the Derry walls "Whilst we were huddled in the alleyway, bullets were hitting the wall behind us. I did not see the bullets, I just heard them. They made the same sound as live bullets I had heard earlier. They could only have been fired from the army observation post along the Derry Walls," said Carmel.

A witness to the killing of two of the victims, Gerry McCauley, also gave evidence to the tribunal this week. McCauley said that he had seen two British soldiers crossing William Street towards him and told how a bullet had grazed the sleeve of his jacket as he made his was to the area behind Glenfada Park and Abbey Park. He took shelter in a nearby house and watched through the front window as 17-year-old Gerald Donaghy and 35-year-old Gerard McKinney, the last of the victims, were shot.

McCauley said he saw a small group of people sheltering behind the western block of Glenfada Park. He watched as residents pulled some of this group through their windows to safety. Then, he said, he saw two people move a small distance out from the rest of the group, one of whom was "a wee lad, a cub". As they did so they were shot and fell onto some shallow steps. McCauley said that as he went to help the two - Gerald Donaghy was still alive at this point - he noticed two soldiers in the alleyway leading from Glenfada Park. "I froze on the spot," he said.

A young woman wearing a white uniform - Evelyn Lafferty of the Knights of Malta, who earlier told the tribunal that a bullet hit her trouser leg - had also come to try and give aid to the two men, at which point Mr McCauley said: "A third soldier came up between the two soldiers, knelt down and fired a shot which hit the pavement about two feet in front of her. She got down on the ground. She then got up and came towards the dead man on the steps. There was no more shooting."
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