Coroner to quiz witnesses over post-mortem photos of IRA man killed by army

Operation Motorman
Operation Motorman

Witnesses are to be questioned about the absence of post-mortem photographs of an IRA man killed by the Army in 1972, a coroner's court has been told.

Seamus Bradley was 19 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".

The Army claimed he was shot while he was in a tree and suffered additional injuries as he fell.

His family has alleged he was shot while running from the area and sustained further injuries while in the custody of soldiers.

Mr Bradley's brother Danny has previously expressed concerns that while some post-mortem photos are available, none appear to show his neck, citing concerns he may have suffered a broken neck.

David Heraghty QC, representing the Bradley family, told a preliminary hearing of the inquest: "Mr Bradley's brother has repeatedly impressed on us his incredulity that there aren't any photos showing the whole body, including the neck.

"It continues to be his view that we should view images of the deceased's neck. He is very concerned that there are no existing photos. He finds that very difficult to believe."

Fiona Doherty QC, representing the Coroner's Court, said witnesses had been identified including a police sergeant who took photos of Mr Bradley at the time, and another man who had directed the photos being taken during the post-mortem examination.

She said: "Both should be able to address this issue during the inquest. Mr Bradley's concerns on this issue are live and have been noted by the coroner throughout this.

"It is something which should be made clear to him will be explored over the course of this inquest."

Presiding over the hearing, Justice Keegan told the court: "This is an area that's important to Mr Bradley - I can see that.

"I can assure you that the Coroner's Court has done their best to try to find those photos. These matters are important matters which can be developed through questioning."

The next preliminary hearing in the inquest is to take place on November 9.