Northern Ireland news

Father of teen killed by army Land Rover has 'given up hope' of justice

Gary English was crushed to death by a British army Land Rover in April 1981
Seamus McKinney

THE father of one of two teenagers killed by a British army Land Rover in 1981 says he has given up hope of ever getting justice for his son.

Michael English also revealed that police broke news of his son's death with the words that he was "in the morgue, dead and flat as a pancake”.

Gary English (19) and Jim Brown (18) died when a Land Rover drove into a group of people during disturbances close to Derry's St Eugene's Cathedral on April 19 1981.

After striking the teenagers, the vehicle reversed over Mr English while the family believe he was still alive.

It came just weeks before the death of hunger striker Bobby Sands, at a time when tensions were running high across the north.

Mr English's brother Charles joined the IRA in the aftermath of his death and was killed in 1985 when a rocket-propelled grenade launcher he was holding exploded.

The RUC treated the 1981 deaths as a road traffic accident. Two soldiers were later charged with reckless driving causing deaths and aiding abetting the offence, but were acquitted following a legal process which was widely criticised.

The case was reviewed by the police Historical Enquiries Team and in a report, disputed by the English family, it concluded that the original RUC investigation was "thorough" and that, based on transcripts, there had been a fair trial.

The report, eventually released by the PSNI's Legacy Investigations Branch, erroneously referred to Mr English as “Constable Gary English”.

A new report about the case was launched by the Pat Finucane Centre human rights group in Derry last night, marking the 37th anniversary of the deaths.

In the report, Michael English said he struggles to come to terms with the injustice of his son's death.

He said: “I know I am never going to get the truth, acknowledged in public, by the state that killed my son. It's just not going to happen."

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