Coroner appeal on Derry riot death

A Coroner has appealed for information on the death of a Derry man who died during rioting in the city in July 1996.

Witnesses to the death of Dermot McShane, who died after being crushed under a British army vehicle at Little James Street in Derry, have been urged to come forward by coroner Brian Sherrard.

Mr Sherrard was speaking ahead of the inquest into the death of the 35 year-old which is due to begin in Derry courthouse on May 27

"In order to ensure that all the evidence is before the court, I would ask any member of the public who has not already been summoned to attend the hearing, and who wishes to bring anything of relevance to Mr McShane's death to the court's attention, to contact the Coroners Service," he said.

Last month the Historical Enquires Team (HET) recommended that no charges be levelled against the soldier who drove the vehicle.

The case was investigated by the HET after the Director of Public Prosecutions' (DPP) 1998 decision that there was insufficient evidence to sustain murder, manslaughter or dangerous driving charges against the soldier.

The rioting that took place on the night Mr. McShane was killed was some of the heaviest seen in the city in many years. It erupted after an Orange Order march was forced down the Garvaghy Road in Portadown by the RUC.

According to official figures, 946 plastic bullets were fired on the night of July 12/13 while the police claimed that up to 1,200 petrol bombs were thrown. During the rioting, Mr McShane and others were using a hoarding as cover when a British army vehicle drove at it. Mr McShane was crushed under the wheels of the vehicle.

Members of the public can contact the Coroners Office by email (coronersoffice@courtsni.gsi.gov.uk) or by telephoning Donna Hall on 028 9044 6821 no later than 16 May 2008.