Youngest victim shot by British soldier on Bloody Sunday to receive more than £140,000 in damages

Compensation awarded to Damien Donaghy covers injuries inflicted on him as a 15-year-old boy in Derry in January 1972

The first and youngest victim shot by a British soldier on Bloody Sunday is to receive more than £140,000 in damages, a Belfast High Court judge ruled on Friday.

The compensation awarded to Damien Donaghy covers injuries inflicted on him as a 15-year-old boy in Derry in January 1972.

Thirteen people were killed and others wounded when members of the British Army’s parachute regiment opened fire on civil rights demonstrators in the city.

Victims and their families brought a series of civil actions against the UK’s ministry of defence (MoD) after a major tribunal established the innocence of all those killed and wounded. The Saville Inquiry’s findings in 2010 prompted the British prime minister at the time, David Cameron, to publicly apologise for the soldiers’ actions. He described the events on Bloody Sunday as “unjustified and unjustifiable”.

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Mr Donaghy (66) has accepted throwing stones at troops near William Street before he was struck in the thigh by a high velocity bullet.

During treatment at Altnagelvin Hospital for a fractured femur he had been terrified that he may lose his leg, according to his case.

The court heard Mr Donaghy played for an elite youth soccer team in Derry before he was shot and had ambitions to make it as a professional in England.

But although his claim for loss of earnings was rejected, Mr Justice McAlinden held that he should receive £90,000 compensation to cover general damages and “the undoubted impairment of the ability to play and to enjoy playing football”.

An award of £12,500 was made for psychiatric injuries and a further £38,000 in aggravated damages because “the MoD maintained its stance that the plaintiff was involved in wrongdoing up until the Saville Inquiry”.

The judge confirmed: “The total figure in this case is the sum of £140,500.”

A deduction will be made from that figure to cover a £3,000 ex gratia payment made to Mr Donaghy back in the mid 1970s.

Outside court his solicitor, Fearghal Shiels of Madden & Finucane law firm, said: “My client welcomes this judgment and is pleased to have the matter finally resolved.”