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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 February 2007, 10:55 GMT
Soldier who blinded man forgiven
The two men were pictured in the Irish News newspaper [Picture: Irish News]
The two men were pictured in the Irish News newspaper
Derry man Richard Moore, who was blinded by a rubber bullet as a child in 1972, has said he forgives the soldier who shot him.

A documentary that follows him as he tracks down the soldier will be shown on BBC Northern Ireland on Sunday.

Richard Moore described the meeting as surreal.

He has now stayed with the soldier as a guest in his home and met him on three different occasions.

"As far back as I can remember I have always wanted to meet the soldier who shot me," said Richard.

"At times I am not sure about the reasons why I wanted to meet him, and then there are times I think that the most significant thing to ever happen to me was being blinded.

"The person I am, the work that I do, and the direction that life has taken and all the challenges I have faced throughout my life... were all dictated by that incident.

We chatted a bit more around it, but by-and-large we talked about my family, his family and talked about where the peace process was going and his career
Richard Moore

"I have always felt I never met the person that was at the other end of that equation."

Mr Moore, who is the director of the charity, Children in Crossfire, lost one eye and the sight in the other when he was struck in the face with the rubber bullet in May 1972.

The 45-year-old said the soldier had written a letter, but that it had been "more of a statement" and that it had been from a position of suspicion.

The two men later met in a hotel in Edinburgh.

Peace process

Mr Moore said he wanted the retired major to know that "I have no resentment or hatred towards you".

"He said thank you, and he said to me that he regrets what happened, when he heard the next day about the damage that was caused.

"He went into deep shock, deep sadness and deep regret.

"We chatted a bit more around it, but by-and-large we talked about my family, his family and talked about where the peace process was going and his career."

The soldier, known only as Charles, was an Army captain when the incident took place.

Richard said he did not want the meeting to be about "revisiting the evidence" about the circumstances of the shooting.

Soldiers in Derry on Bloody Sunday
The incident took place shortly after Bloody Sunday

"What I was doing was meeting a human being behind the gun that was fired at me.

"At least we agreed on the fact that I wasn't a rioter - because that was something that was very strong to me."

He added: "I was a child going home from school, and it is important that the soldier accepts some bottom line as well.

"I feel that he and I - where we may not agree on everything - I do think that we have reached a common ground that both of us can live with."

Richard has now invited the retired officer to visit Derry.

"I like him, and I would like to remain friends with him."

Blind Vision will be screened on BBC1 at 2220 GMT on Sunday.




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