The family of Francis Bradley, Fearghal Shiels, Patsy McGlone, Emma Sheerin and Linda Dillon - Bishop Street Courthouse

The family of Francis Bradley with Fearghal Shiels of Madden & Finucane and political representatives Patsy McGlone, Emma Sheerin and Linda Dillon outside Bishop Street Courthouse

QUESTIONS must be answered over the existence of a video that may show how Derry man Francis Bradley (20) was killed in disputed circumstances nearly 40 years ago, a lawyer representing the family has said.

He was shot in an incident involving soldiers near Toomebridge on February 18 1986, with a new inquest ordered in 2010.

At a review hearing on Thursday morning, there was an unexpected last minute development as it emerged that a former soldier claimed there was a video showing how Mr Bradley died.

The inquest is due to resume again in Coleraine court on Monday morning, just weeks before the cut-off date for legacy proceedings imposed by the Government’s Legacy Act.

It emerged that the former solider, referred to as U, recently gave a statement to say there was a video that captured some of the incident.

U’s statement said that he took the video “back to the surveillance sub unit” but did not know what happened to it after that.

The hearing was told: “He states that the helicopter that was used in the air in the night on question had an image intensifier that had a video recording facility and that, immediately after the incident, he went to the location where the helicopter had landed, and he took the video.

“He recalls watching the video and he sets out what it captured and certainly the first clip he said captured two or three soldiers running forward from the railway line towards the farmhouse, this may be in the engagement in which Francis Bradley died.

“He says he remembers that he took the video back to the surveillance sub unit but he does not know what happened to the video thereafter. This is obviously the first time we’re hearing about this video so as a matter of urgency, steps need to be taken, in the first instance to try and locate the video but certainly explain what has happened to it.”

The hearing was also told that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been asked about the video, with hopes of an update being provided at the start of next week.

Coroner Peter Irvine responded by saying: “It sounds like it could be very fundamental to this whole inquest if there is such a video available, somewhat surprised that we haven’t been made aware of this at a much earlier stage.”

A legal representative for the MoD said they were taking instructions about the video and had not been made aware of its existence before U’s statement.

At the time of the killing, the IRA said Mr Bradley was not a member. However, his name was later added to the organisation’s “roll of honour”.

Fearghál Shiels, of Madden and Finucane Solicitors, is representing the Bradley family and said many questions needed answered.

“Obviously this has come as a complete surprise, we’re about to begin the seventh week of evidence and this demands an explanation as to why it has only come to light now,” he told The Irish News.

“This is despite assurances that everything has been disclosed to the inquest.”

Mr Shiels was asked whether this could be a tactic to run down the clock, just weeks before the cut-off date for legacy proceedings.

“I don’t think that can be allowed. The coroner will have received all the oral evidence available to them,” he said.

“I don’t think anything introduced this late in the proceedings will be allowed to be held up as a stumbling block.”

Even if such a tape had not been preserved, he said other evidence relating to it may be available.

“If it no longer exists, there should be a paper trail. There should be retention and disposal records, all of that needs to be explained by the MoD.

“If there’s time, it could be that a witness needs to be called. But it won’t operate as an obstacle to the inquest.”

Irish News