1. ITV Report

Former soldier to be prosecuted for murder of Derry teen

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Rohit Kachroo

A former soldier is to be prosecuted for murder over the death of teenager Daniel Hegarty in Londonderry in 1972.

The 15-year-old boy died after being shot twice in the head by a member of an Army patrol on duty in the Creggan area on 31 July 1972, during what was known as ‘Operation Motorman’.

His cousin Christopher Hegarty, then aged 17, was also shot in the head, but survived.

A man known only as ‘Soldier B’ is to be prosecuted for both murder in relation to Daniel’s death and wounding with intent in respect of Christopher’s injuries.

It comes after a review of the case by Northern Ireland's Director of Public Prosecutions Stephen Herron, after the High Court quashed his predecessor Barra McGrory’s decision not to bring criminal charges.

I have taken the decision to prosecute an individual identified as Soldier B for the offence of murder in relation to the death of Daniel Hegarty and for the wounding of Christopher Hegarty.

This decision has been reached following an objective and impartial application of the Test for Prosecution, which was conducted in accordance with the Code for Prosecutors and with the benefit of advice from Senior Counsel.

– Stephen Herron, NI's Director of Public Prosecutions

Mr Herron has now met privately in Derry with members of the Hegarty family to inform them of his decision to prosecute.

Speaking afterwards, he said he had given “careful consideration” to all of the available evidence in the case.

“I have concluded that the evidence which can be presented at court is sufficient to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction and that the Evidential Test for Prosecution is met,” he said.

Mr Herron added: “As with all cases, I have also carefully considered whether the public interest requires prosecution through the courts.

“Particular consideration was given to Soldier B’s ill health, regarding which an updated medical report was obtained.

“In line with our Code for Prosecutors, I have concluded, given the seriousness of the charges, that the Public Interest Test for Prosecution is also met.”