Northern Ireland news

Family of IRA man Seamus Bradley demand release of postmortem photographs

Seamus Bradley (19) died during the British army's Operation Motorman in Derry in July 1972
Seamus McKinney

A brother of an IRA man killed by British soldiers in 1972 has demanded that police immediately release all photographs relating to his death.

Seamus Bradley (19) died during Operation Motorman as troops moved into Derry’s Creggan to clear no-go areas.

He was shot several times after which, it was claimed, he bled to death.

The soldier who fired the initial shots said he saw the teenager carry a gun as he climbed a tree.

However, the account has always been disputed by the Bradley family.

A new inquest into the death is to be held in December.

At a preliminary hearing in July, the family raised questions about post mortem photographs taken of the body.

Danny Bradley believes a complete roll of pictures exists which could show his brother died as a result of a broken neck.

He said a military belt may have been tied around his neck as he was being taken to an ambulance after being shot.

“At the first inquest in 1973, only two black and white photographs were shown but now eight have come to light, including a colour picture which shows marks on the front of Seamus’s neck," Mr Bradley said.

"But there are no pictures of the back of his neck but some must have been taken."

He said he believes his brother was initially shot in the thigh but later shot again after being taken into custody.

“We think Seamus lost consciousness and at that point the army phoned Altnagelvin and were told an ambulance was being sent to St Peter’s secondary school to collect him.

"We believe that while he was being taken there in a Saracen (armoured car), he came around and tried to jump out but had an army belt around his neck.”

Mr Bradley said a colour photograph of his brother showed his lips were blue, indicating he may have died from asphyxiation.

“A review of the case by former Republic of Ireland state pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy concluded that the gunshot wounds were not life-threatening," he said.

"We, as a family, need to know how Seamus died so I am calling on police to release all photographs from 1972 in time for the next preliminary hearing on September 18."

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