Crushed by Saracen but.. No charges

The family of a Derry man who died during rioting in the city in July 1996 says it is "disappointed" that the Historical Enquires Team (HET) has recommended that no charges be levelled against the soldier who drove the vehicle that killed him.

However, Dermot McShane's relatives say they remain hopeful the truth will come out during the inquest scheduled to open next month.

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

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 claim up to 1,200 petrol bombs were thrown. During rioting at Little James Street, 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.

'The Truth'

Speaking after the publication of the HET decision, the McShane family's solicitor, Mr. Paddy MacDermott, said: "The family is disappointed at this turn of events but they are hopeful that the inquest which is due to open on May 27th will get at the truth.

"At the inquest, the driver of the vehicle and those who gave him his orders can be compelled to give evidence and they will be subject to cross examination. Hopefully then the full picture will emerge."

The HET concluded that Dermot McShane had been run over 'by a wheel or wheels' of a motor vehicle and added that the driver of that vehicle 'may not have known anyone was behind the hoarding.'

It also emerged yesterday that, of the 15 military witnesses who will be called at the inquest, nine of them - including the driver - have since left the British Army. Some of those still in the British Army are serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.