Soldier who killed Derry man ‘acted lawfully’

Seamus Bradley. (1605DW1bradley (2)]
Seamus Bradley. (1605DW1bradley (2)]

British soldiers acted lawfully when they shot dead an IRA man in Derry nearly 40 years ago, a report has found.

The Historical Enquiries Team (HET) looked into the death of Seamus Bradley (19) in the Creggan area of the city during Operation Motorman in July 1972.

It said his death was never “effectively investigated”.

However, the report said that, if soldiers were telling the truth about the shooting, they had operated within army rules and the law.

According to the HET report, Mr Bradley was shot and killed by a soldier from the Royal Scots Regiment.

The report recalled that, in the early hours of July 31, 1972, members of the regiment were in the Creggan securing an area of wasteground.

The soldier who fired the shots said he saw Seamus Bradley run towards some trees, carrying what looked like a sub-machine gun, and then climb a tree.

The soldier said he fired four times and Seamus Bradley fell from the tree.

The report said it was almost an hour before other soldiers went to Mr Bradley and took him to St Peter’s school where an army medical post had been set up. He was formally pronounced dead at the school.

Danny Bradley, a brother of the deceased, has disputed the location and circumstances of the shooting.

In evidence given to the HET, he said he had been with his brother on the night he had been killed.

He said a group of 15, including himself and his brother, went to Creggan shops. A nail bomb was thrown into the road.

He said they felt “trapped” by the Army and that his brother was shot twice by a soldier and was then driven away.

The report said it took nearly an hour for soldiers to find Seamus Bradley and, when they did get to him, a search of the area was carried out but no weapon found.

The HET said that either there was no weapon in the first place or it had been removed.

The report added that, had Seamus Bradley been recovered from the scene earlier, he may have survived.

The British Ministry of Defence said it would not be appropriate to comment on an official investigation.