Derry teen killed by British Army wrongly described as ‘Constable’ in report

Mickey English pictured with the newly-released review into his son's death. On left is Paul O'Connor and, on right, Sara Duddy, PFC.
Mickey English pictured with the newly-released review into his son's death. On left is Paul O'Connor and, on right, Sara Duddy, PFC.
  • Gary English killed by British Army in 1981
  • Teen described as ‘Constable’ in new review
  • Dad ‘shocked and horrified’

A Bogside teenager killed by the British Army 35 years ago has been wrongly described as a police ‘constable’ in a newly-released draft review into his controversial death.

Gary English (19) was knocked down and killed at Creggan Hill by a British Army landrover during street disturbances on April 19, 1981.

Gary English.

Gary English.

Another teenager, seventeen years-old Jim Brown, was killed on impact but Gary English died when the landrover reversed back over his injured body.

The deaths took place at a particularly tense time during the Long Kesh hunger strikes.

Gary English’s father, Mickey (70), has long campaigned for full disclosure of the circumstances surrounding his son’s death.

Initially, the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) was investigating the case but, when this unit was wound up in 2014, the PSNI’s new Legacy Investigations Branch (LIB) took on the probe.

The front cover of the draft report which describes Gary English as 'Constable'.

The front cover of the draft report which describes Gary English as 'Constable'.

Derry-based human rights group, the Pat Finucane Centre (PFC), recently contacted LIB to request a copy of the most up to date review of the case. It arrived in the post just days ago.

Paul O’Connor, of the PFC, takes up the story: “On opening the mail, we discovered to our absolute horror that the cover page of the so-called report referred to ‘Constable James Gary English’. It really was jaw-dropping stuff. It beggars belief.

“I realised the upset this would cause to Mickey and his family but we were duty bound to inform them.”

Mickey English said he was “shocked and horrified” when made aware of the matter.

“The review itself is worthless,” he said. “It contains nothing new. There are no answers to any of our questions and no conclusions. It’s a waste of paper. But to see my son described as a ‘Constable’ on its front cover was, I have to admit, the last thing I expected to see. I was dumb-founded. I still am.

“It merely adds insult to injury. It’s like someone rubbing salt into the wound.”

The Pat Finucane Centre subsequently contacted the LIB to make it aware of the mistake and, in response, was told it was an “administrative error” and unintentional.

An amended copy of the draft review has since been issued to the PFC.