Northern Ireland

Ballymurphy inquest: Teen beaten so badly doctor 'thought he'd been run over by bus'

Ballymurphy relatives outside the coroner's court in Belfast. Picture by Hugh Russell
Ballymurphy relatives outside the coroner's court in Belfast. Picture by Hugh Russell

A TEENAGER beaten "relentlessly" by soldiers suffered such severe injuries in his days-long ordeal that a doctor thought he had been run over by a bus.

Bernard Doyle gave harrowing details of the attack at the inquest into the deaths of 10 people in Ballymurphy in west Belfast in 1971.

It has been hearing evidence about the deaths of John Laverty (20) and Joseph Corr (43) on August 11 on Upper Whiterock Road as soldiers of the Parachute Regiment moved into the area.

Mr Doyle and his brother Robert have recounted going to help a wounded man who they found in their garden, but were arrested and beaten by soldiers.

The man was not known to the brothers.

Mr Doyle said he and his brother were initially put in a British army vehicle to be taken to the nearby Henry Taggart base on the Springfield Road.

He told the court he thought to himself: "'I'm dead, I'll never see nobody ever again.'

"See, when you go to Henry Taggart, the things they done in Henry Taggart were unreal and I thought: 'I'm dead, I'm dead'."

They were instead put into a lorry with other detainees and taken to Girdwood Barracks where they were held for several days.

Mr Doyle said he went to hospital for treatment for his injuries and the doctor looked at him and asked if he had been run over by a bus.

He had suffered a fracture to his lower back and told coroner Siobhan Keegan that he still has back pain.

"I got beat relentlessly for trying to help some fellow who'd been shot."

Ministry of Defence (MoD) barrister Kevin Rooney said he was not suggesting that the beatings had not taken place, adding that they "should never have happened".

The court also heard that the headquarters logs of 1st Battalion the Parachute Regiment cannot be located for the period, despite having been available to the Bloody Sunday Inquiry.