Coroner calls for witnesses into killing of IRA man

The funeral of Seamus Bradley in Londonderry in 1972
The funeral of Seamus Bradley in Londonderry in 1972

The Coroner’s Office is to hold a ‘witness surgery’ to gather evidence on the 1972 death of Londonderry IRA man, Seamus Bradley.

Seamus Bradley was 19 and an IRA member when he died in disputed circumstances in Londonderry during Operation Motorman, an army operation aimed at regaining control of areas in the city deemed to be “no-go zones”.

At the time, soldiers claimed the teenager was shot after he climbed a tree in the Creggan Estate, armed with what looked like a sub-machine gun.

The army also said he bled to death from his injuries and that marks on his body came from his fall from the tree.

However, recent evidence suggests that the teenager was unarmed and shot in the back as he ran away.

A ballistics report, compiled for a fresh inquiry, also finds Seamus Bradley may have been stripped and shot before he died in captivity.

The Historical Enquiries Team said in 2012 that his death was never “effectively investigated” but that if soldiers were telling the truth, they had acted within army rules and the law in shooting him.

The inquest into Mr Bradley’s death is listed to commence at Londonderry Courthouse on December 11.

The Coroner, Judge Kinney, wants anyone who can assist the inquest examining the teenager’s death to get in touch with the Coroner’s Service.

A spokesperson said: “There may, for example, be persons with relevant information concerning the death, but who have not yet brought that information to the attention of the authorities or persons who were in the vicinity of Bishop’s Field or the ‘Creggan Shops’.”

To facilitate this process, a ‘witness surgery’ will take place at the Verbal Arts Centre, Bishop Street, on October 12 (10 am to 7 pm).

Alternatively, anyone with information in relation to the death can email/write to the Coroner’s Service for NI before November 1.

The contact details are: Coroners Service for Northern Ireland, Laganside House, 23-27 Oxford Street, Belfast. BT1 3LA. Tel: 028 90 446829 or Legacy@courtsni.gsi.gov.uk