Northern Ireland news

Former soldier's regret over blinding comes 'in quiet moments'

Richard Moore with the Dali Lama
Seamus McKinney

Former British Army officer, Charles Innes says his regret over the blinding of Richard Moore comes in quiet moments as he looks back.

On May 4 1972, the then Captain Innes was on duty. In an effort to disperse a group of children from near the army sangar, he fired the rubber bullet which changed Richard Moore's life forever.

More than 30 years later, he was contacted by a television documentary crew and given a letter from the Derry man.

Read More: Richard Moore marks anniversary of life-changing shooting

Based on that, he agreed to a meeting with Mr Moore which has led to a deep and enduring friendship. That friendship.

“From the letter Richard sent before we met, I knew that it was going to be ok; I knew absolutely when I met him for the first time. I walked into the room and tapped him and said ‘Hi Richard, I’m Charles’ and within minutes I felt I had known him for a long time.”

After the incident, Mr Innes said he did not try to contact Mr Moore or find out about him. However, the shooting did remain with him.

“I did not forget about it. At times, I felt sad and regretted what happened, in quiet moments. It stayed with me.”

Since meeting the Derry man, the two have not only become close friends but have worked hard together, particularly in support of Children In Crossfire. They make a point of meeting up at least once a year but it’s usually much more than that.

This Wednesday, the former soldier said he would “take quiet time” to think about all that has happened. After that he’s looking forward to meeting his friend again.

“The thing about Richard is he’s always so bloody positive. I’m looking forward to seeing him in a few weeks time, socially, for a wee chat.”

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