30/05/2008

Derry Riot Death Recalled

A police officer has said that the soldier driving the army vehicle which killed a Derry man during a riot failed to follow his instructions.

Dermot McShane, 36, a former INLA man, was run over during one of the worst weekends of rioting ever seen in Londonderry.

Police inspector Neil Graham said he ordered Private Daniel Moran to ram a metal skip which rioters were rolling towards police - but instead - it rammed a wooden hoarding behind which Mr McShane was sheltering while he took part in the riot.

The comments were made at the inquest into the death - which began on Tuesday - and has already heard that the trouble flared after Orangemen walked down Portadown's Garvaghy Road in Co Armagh, was some of the worst civic violence ever witnessed in Derry taking place afterwards.

Both the driver of the 11-ton Saxon armoured personnel carrier which struck Mr McShane, and an Army officer who was present, have ignored the coroner's ruling to attend.

Coroner Brian Sherrard was told that Mr Moran was the only soldier in the Saxon and that he had therefore driven the vehicle contrary to Army procedures.

The coroner said he issued a subpoena to the witness, which was served on him through the High Court - but with no response.

The police officer who ordered the personnel carrier to be driven forward has already told the inquest he feared for his life and that of the 29 officers under his command.

Inspector Neil Graham said police lines were under attack from 500 rioters.

He said it was a terrifying experience, but the police could not retreat, because "retreating was not on the agenda".

The inquest, which began on Tuesday, continues at Bishop Street courthouse in Londonderry.

Earlier this week there was unfounded speculation that former RUC Chief Constable Ronnie Flanagan could be called to give evidence.

A republican website describes the deceased as "a former INLA volunteer from Derry, (who) was crushed to death by a British army "Saxon" personnel carrier as serious rioting broke out in the city centre, close to Derry's Bogside".

(BMcC)

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