Northern Ireland news

Brother of a IRA man killed by British army tells inquest he ran across path of soldiers 'to protect me'

An inquest has opened into the death of Derry man Seamus Bradley in 1972

THE younger brother of an IRA man killed by the British army in 1972 has told an inquest that the teenager ran across the path of soldiers to "attract the army to him, to protect me".

Seamus Bradley (19) died during Operation Motorman as soldiers moved into the Creggan area of Derry to clear 'no-go' areas.

On the opening day of the hearing, Daniel Bradley told the coroners court that his brother had shouted "Get Danny to those flats and get him away" as he ran in front of two army Saracens.

The army has claimed Mr Bradley was shot while he was in a tree and suffered additional injuries as he fell on July 31 1972.

But his family have alleged he was shot while running from the area and suffered further injuries while in the custody of soldiers.

A barrister for the coroner, Fiona Doherty, said the "circumstances are disputed and are of much controversy".

She said the court would hear evidence from a number of witnesses, including some soldiers as well as forensic and ballistics experts.

During his evidence yesterday, Mr Bradley described his brother as a "happy go-lucky character".

"On July 30, Seamus agreed to take me to my first dance at the Stardust," he said.

"Seamus was my father's blue eye, so was allowed to take me."

He said it was while at the dance "I discovered that Seamus was a volunteer with the IRA".

Mr Bradley said "two masked men came in, they were the Provisional IRA" and went onto the stage.

"They took the microphone and told everyone to go home, that there was a curfew."

He said after they returned home, they both later climbed out their bedroom window and went to a house.

Mr Bradley said Seamus entered the property to speak to a man, whom he later discovered was his "section leader".

"He was a pallbearer at Seamus's funeral and he told me he had ordered Seamus to stand down," he said.

Mr Bradley said they then visited another house where "10 to 20 nail bombs were handed out"..... "I didn't take one, neither did Seamus" before they made their way to the Creggan shops.

He said they heard shots and an explosion, which he believed may have been a nail bomb, before two army Saracens started "to circle" nearby.

"We were caught in the middle of something, we didn't know where to go until my brother started to run."

He said Seamus had told a man to "get me to safety" and "jumped out so to direct attention away from me".

"He ran straight across and into Bishops Field to attract the army to him, to protect me and others."

Mr Bradley said as his brother ran out, a "soldier got out, knelt, took aim and shot at Seamus".

"I was able to see Seamus from where I was standing," he said.

"By the time Seamus left the crowd to when he was shot was one minute."

Mr Bradley said a man pushed him into a nearby flat and as he got to the window, one of the Saracens "picked him up and placed him inside".

He said he believed his brother was beaten in the vehicle, adding, "I could hear him shouting when the door was shut."

Mr Bradley told the court he believes the army "beat Seamus badly" before he was able to escape - "I think near St Peter's School, he jumped out of the Saracen".

He claimed some photographs of his body "show the true torture my brother endured at the hands of the British army".

The inquest continues.

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