Saturday, 11 Jul 2020

Former British soldier to be prosecuted for murder of teenager in Derry in 1972

A British soldier is to face a murder trail over the death of teenager in Northern Ireland in 1972.

The Public Prosecution Service said the former soldier, identified as Soldier B, is also accused of wounding with intent in respect of a second youth.

Daniel Hegarty was 15 when he was shot and killed by a member of an Army patrol on duty in the Creggan area of Derry on 31 July 1972, during what was known as ‘Operation Motorman’.

He died after being shot twice in the head by Soldier B.

His cousin Christopher Hegarty, then aged 17, was also shot and injured in the incident.

The Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland, Stephen Herron, met with members of the Hegarty family to inform them of the decision at a private meeting in Derry on Monday April 15.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Herron said: “I have given careful consideration to all of the available evidence. This has included material obtained in the course of the initial investigation; by a later investigation carried out by the Historical Enquiries Team; material generated by Inquest proceedings and a number of expert forensic reports, the most recent of which was provided after the Court ruling in 2018.

“I have concluded that the evidence which can be presented at court is sufficient to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction and that the Evidential Test for Prosecution is met.

“As with all cases, I have also carefully considered whether the public interest requires prosecution through the courts. Particular consideration was given to Soldier B’s ill health, regarding which an updated medical report was obtained.  In line with our Code for Prosecutors, I have concluded, given the seriousness of the charges, that the Public Interest Test for Prosecution is also met.

“I have therefore taken the decision to prosecute an individual identified as Soldier B for the offence of murder in relation to the death of Daniel Hegarty and for the wounding of Christopher Hegarty,” said Mr Herron.

“This decision has been reached following an objective and impartial application of the Test for Prosecution which was conducted in accordance with the Code for Prosecutors and with the benefit of advice from Senior Counsel.”

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