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Bloody Sunday took music out of our house, brother of victim says

William McKinney was shot dead on Bloody Sunday 50 years ago.

Image: Liam McBurney/PA

A RELATIVE OF a Bloody Sunday victim has told how his family could not bear to play music in their house for years after his brother was shot dead.

William McKinney was a keen amateur photographer with a love of music. He had gone to the civil rights march in Derry on January 30, 1972, to record events on his new video camera.

The camera was found in his jacket pocket as he lay dying after being shot in the back in Glenfada Park 50 years ago. He was 27 years old.

His brother Joe McKinney recalled how William had bought a new stereo shortly before he died.

He said: “Willie loved music. He could read music and he played the accordion. I remember one time he brought in a mandolin to learn. He was going to teach himself that.

“He loved country and western music and he had just bought a new stereo, the stereo sound had just come out within the last year or so.

saville-inquiry William McKinney, who was killed on Bloody Sunday Source: Bloody Sunday Trust/PA

“Afterwards it lay silent. It took the music out of our house because we all had our own different likes in music but we would have used this new stereo, we thought this was brilliant.

“Afterwards, nobody wanted to play it anymore for maybe two or three years.

“I remember saying to my mother, ‘I think we are going to have to start playing this again because Willie wouldn’t want it to be silent’.”

He added: “William was my big brother, he kind of looked out for you.

“I can remember one time I was going on a school trip and he gave me a pound.

“This was quite a while ago and our parents wouldn’t have given us any pocket money because they really couldn’t afford it.

“He had a really good sense of humour and I always remember him imitating Eric Morcambe, with his glasses, waving the glasses about. He always managed to see the funny side of things.”

Joe had gone to the march on Bloody Sunday with two friends. One of them, John Young, was also shot dead.

He said: “I remember seeing him (William) at the gas yard, he was up on a bit of high ground, filming the march going past.

“The last time I seen John (Young) was when the march had stalled. I went on down William Street and John came towards the barricade where he was eventually shot.

“I went to the barricade at William Street. It was mostly just jostling. I remember the water cannon coming up, there wasn’t any petrol bombs, it was just a few stones and shouting.

“I remember then rubber bullets being fired. Then there was two sharp cracks. I said to myself, ‘that’s live fire, I think it’s time to get out of here’.

“I ran over to Chamberlain Street, by the time I got into the car park, Jackie Duddy was lying dead with Bishop Daly and Liam Bradley around him.”

He added: “I didn’t find out (about William) until about 6pm that night.

“I can remember going up home and it was dark so it was coming on just after six.

“When I got in home my mother and father was there and there were other people about the house, neighbours had come in and they had heard that one of the McKinneys had been shot.

“The next thing a neighbour and myself went up to an information centre up at the Creggan shops.

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“I gave them a description of Willie, with the dark glasses and his age, and they said there is a fellow and they thought he was one of the McKinneys.

“I pretty much knew then that it was Willie.”

embedded6474827 Joe McKinney brother of William McKinney killed on Bloody Sunday in Derry’s Bogside in 1972, stands holding an image of his brother in Derry, Northern Ireland. Source: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Joe said it has taken years for him to acknowledge the impact that the events of Bloody Sunday had on him.

He said: “You don’t realise it at the time, I didn’t even realise it living through it. It is only now that I am far older and I look back on it, it had an enormous impact.

“I don’t get up purposely every morning to think about it.

“For the past few years we have spent a lot of time in court, we have spent quite a bit of time talking to the PSNI. It is hard not to think about it.”

A major memorial event is taking place in Derry this weekend to commemorate Bloody Sunday. 

An event titled Beyond the Silence will take place before a limited audience in Guildhall Square.

President Michael D Higgins, Taoiseach Micheal Martin and former UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn are among those taking part. 

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