Northern Ireland news

Soldier B to be charged with 1972 murder of Daniel Hegarty in Derry

 Daniel Hegarty with his sister Kathleen in the Creggan, Derry
Digital Staff

A former British Army soldier will be prosecuted for the death of 15-year-old Daniel Hegarty who was fatally shot in the head in Derry in 1972.

Soldier B will also be charged with wounding with intent in respect of Daniel's cousin, 16-year-old Christopher Hegarty, in the same incident, the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has confirmed. 

Daniel Hegarty was shot and killed by a member of an army patrol on duty in the Creggan on July 31 1972, during ‘Operation Motorman’.

A 2016 decision not to prosecute was last year deemed to be based on "irredeemably flawed" reasoning and the Director of Public Prosecutions Stephen Herron reviewed the case following the High Court ruling.

Mr Heron met the Hegarty family in Derry today to inform them of the prosecution.

“I have given careful consideration to all of the available evidence," said after the private meeting.

"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.

“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.

“As with all cases, I have also 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."

Mr Herron said he had concluded that the public interest test for prosecution had been met.

A British government spokeswoman said: "We note today's decision taken by the Northern Ireland Public Prosecution Service, and we will offer full legal and pastoral support to the individual affected."

Daniel Hegarty was unarmed when he was shot dead by the British Army in 1972 

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