British soldier to be prosecuted over 1972 death of boy (15) in Derry

Inquest in 2011 found Daniel Hegarty, twice shot in the head by ‘Soldier B’, posed no risk

Daniel Hegarty (15) was shot and killed by a member of a British army patrol in the Creggan area of Derry on July 31st, 1972. Photograph: Derry Journal.

Daniel Hegarty (15) was shot and killed by a member of a British army patrol in the Creggan area of Derry on July 31st, 1972. Photograph: Derry Journal.

 

A former British soldier is to be prosecuted for the murder of a teenage boy in Derry in 1972.

Daniel Hegarty (15) was shot and killed by a member of a British army patrol in the Creggan area on July 31st, 1972.

The soldier – known as ‘Soldier B’ – will also be charged with wounding with intent in regard to a second youth.

Daniel died after being shot twice in the head by ‘Soldier B’. In 2011, an inquest into his death found that the teenager had “posed no risk”.

His cousin Christopher Hegarty was also shot and injured.

The incidents took place during Operation Motorman, a military initiative to reclaim what were considered Derry’s “no-go areas”.

Northern Ireland’s Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Stephen Herron privately met members of the Hegarty family on Monday to inform them of the decision.

‘Available evidence’

Mr Herron said he had conducted a review of the case which had “given careful consideration to all of the available evidence”.

“This has included material obtained in the course of the initial investigation; by a later investigation carried out by the Historical Enquiries Team; material generated by inquest proceedings and a number of expert forensic reports, the most recent of which was provided after the court ruling in 2018,” he said.

“I have concluded that the evidence which can be presented at court is sufficient to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction and that the Evidential Test for Prosecution is met.”

Mr Herron said that, as with all cases, he had “carefully considered” whether the public interest requires prosecution through the courts.

“Particular consideration was given to Soldier B’s ill health, regarding which an updated medical report was obtained,” he said.

“This decision has been reached following an objective and impartial application of the Test for Prosecution which was conducted in accordance with the Code for Prosecutors and with the benefit of advice from senior counsel.”