Woman who cradled dying Manus Deery welcomes ruling

Manus Deery
Image caption The 15-year-old was eating chips before he died

A woman who cradled a dying Londonderry teenager has welcomed a coroner's ruling that the Army was unjustified in shooting him 45 years ago.

The coroner ruled on Monday that Manus Deery, 15, was "totally innocent".

Margaret McCauley, who was 14, held the teenager's hand and prayed after he was shot in the head by a soldier from an observation post in May 1972.

At an inquest hearing last year, Pte William Glasgow was identified as the soldier who fired the fatal shot.

He died in 2001 and the only account available from him was a statement he made to Royal Military Police on 20 May 1972.

'I laid beside him and prayed'

Ms McCauley said she heard and almighty screech before Manus Deery fell against her.

"The next thing he was lying on the floor," she told BBC Radio Foyle.

Image caption Helen Deery, a sister of Manus', has been campaigning for justice for years along with the rest of the Deery family

"I knew it was a shot.

"I tried to get him away in case there were more shots coming our way. He was too heavy.

"I laid beside him and prayed. I held his hand.

"My mammy always said that you pray for people when they're dying.

"I could hear people shouting for me to take cover.

"When I finally saw myself I was covered in blood..."

"I think about him every day."

Ms McCauley said the coroner's ruling made her feel good for the Deery family, as the case had taken over their lives.

Manus Deery was described during the inquest as "bright" and "happy go lucky".

He had just started his first job two weeks before his death.

An MOD spokesperson said: "The Army played an essential role in bringing about peace in Northern Ireland in often dangerous conditions, but we deeply regret any harm to innocent people during these necessary operations. Our thoughts remain with Manus Deery's family and friends."

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