IRA gunman 'seen with gun' on Bloody Sunday

Thursday, March 01, 2001
A youth who spotted an Official IRA gunman on Bloody Sunday was going to throttle the would-be assailant, the Saville Inquiry has been told.

The claim was made by Patrick Doherty as he gave evidence in the Guildhall, Londonderry, about the first Army gunfire of the day which ended with 13 Catholic men shot dead.

Mr Doherty, who was a 16-year-old painter on January 30, 1972, says the man wielding a handgun was sighted in the car park of Rossville Flats.

He did not see the gunman - possibly the same one seen by former Bishop of Derry Dr Edward Daly in the same area - but recalled a young man beside him shouting: "Look, there's a Sticky bastard and he's got a short." "Sticky" is a nickname for the Official IRA, the forerunner of the now-dominant Provisionals and short is slang for gun.

Mr Doherty said: "I immediately started looking into the crowd in the middle of the car park, particularly at people's hands, but I couldn't see anyone carrying a gun.

"The boy who had shouted was hysterical and moved to climb over the wall into the car park - I remember another boy grabbed his collar to restrain him."

Under questioning from Counsel to the Inquiry, Christopher Clarke QC, headed: "The first boy was struggling to get over to him, he was going to throttle him."

Mr Doherty also contradicted the claims of other witnesses, including the Bishop, that the first person shot dead, Jack Duddy, 17, was fleeing the advancing paratroopers when hit.

"At the time he was shot Jackie Duddy was standing shouting at the soldiers, he was not running away," he said.

"He definitely did not have anything in his hands. I know this because I had been looking intently at everyone's hands in the car park to look for the gunman that the boy standing next to me had spotted."

Within the next minute Michael Bridge was shot in the leg after hysterically confronting troops and challenging them to shoot him - again empty-handed, he claimed.