Fleming family hit out at latest delay

The scene of the shooting at Gransha. (1312MM30 )
The scene of the shooting at Gransha. (1312MM30 )

The family of a Derry IRA man shot dead by undercover British soldiers in the grounds of Gransha hospital in 1984 have hit out at the latest delay in the inquest into his death.

A preliminary inquiry into the killings of William Fleming and Danny Doherty was postponed against in Belfast yesterday.

The pair were shot dead by an SAS unit in the grounds of Gransha Hospital on December 6, 1894. It was claimed at the time they had been planning an ambush on an off-duty UDR soldier at the time of the shooting.

The families of the two men maintain they were shot as part of a ‘shoot to kill’ policy ordered by the British government.

A fresh inquest into the shooting was ordered by Attorney General John Larkin in 2010 but since then the process has been hit by delays, including a legal challenge by Senior Coroner John Leckey.

The inquiry has now been delayed again because the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and PSNI did not submit key evidence.

A previous preliminary hearing in October was also adjourned because the MOD and PSNI did not send witness statements and other documents to the coroner’s office.

The coroner at yesterday’s hearing set a deadline of January 6 for the identification of witnesses and material to avoid “continually ping-ponging”.

A barrister representing the families said the lack of progress was “disconcerting”.

The family of William Fleming, including former mayors of Derry, Paul and Lynn Fleming, said the truth about what happened is intentionally being withheld.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Gary Fleming said: “We have serious concerns about the process and the attitudes of some of the parties involved. The delays indicate that people are actively being obstructive and preventing the truth coming out.

“Our approach is that this is the only process open to us; it’s the only hope we have. We have faith in those representing the family but our faith in the process and in others involved in that process is diminishing.”