Former British soldier charged over 1972 'Bloody Sunday' killings

14 March, 2019, 18:38 | Author: Myra Gill
  • Relatives and supporters of the victims of the 1972 Bloody Sunday killings hold images of those who died

The decision means the PPS believes there is sufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction, and that prosecution would be in the public interest.

The march had been banned by Northern Ireland's police and the British Army, but organizers wanted a peaceful demonstration, avoiding confrontation at the barricades with the well-armed soldiers.

But in 2017, it emerged that the PPS was considering prosecuting up to 18 paratroopers who were involved in the massacre as well as two former Official IRA men.

The former soldier, identified as soldier "F", was a member of the 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment sent to the protest in Londonderry on January 30, 1972.

Over time, though, the victims' families got organized, campaigned for justice and eventually, more than 25 years after the killings, when a peace deal was signed in Northern Ireland, the British government committed to a full-scale inquiry.

Families of those who were killed hold a press conference inside the Guildhall in Londonderry after the Public Prosecution Service announced that one solider will face prosecution for the murders of James Wray and William McKinney and the attempted murders of Joseph Friel, Michael Quinn, Joe Mahon and Patrick O'Donnell on Bloody Sunday in the city in January 1972.

"In these circumstances the evidential test for prosecution is not met". No one was injured.

Although rioting had become routine for Derry's youth, McCann describes the impact of Bloody Sunday as a game-changer in Northern Ireland.

A public inquiry found that British troops fired first and had given misleading accounts of what happened.

Bloody Sunday British paratrooper charged with two murders over massacre | Daily Star
One former British soldier to face charges over Bloody Sunday killings

However, the government has proposed legislation to widen the programme to offences taking place from 1968, meaning any Bloody Sunday prosecutions would be eligible.

He said: "This is a remarkable achievement by the families and victims of Bloody Sunday".

Families of the dead sought to right the wrongs of false claims that their loved ones had been armed.

Following the Saville Inquiry report's publication, then-Prime Minister David Cameron apologised for the soldiers' actions in the House of Commons.

Alan Barry, from the Justice for Northern Ireland Veterans campaign group, said he feared the paratroopers would face charges, accusing the justice system in Northern Ireland of being one-sided.

Back in 2010, the Bloody Sunday Inquiry by Lord Saville found that the massacre had been "unjustified and unjustifiable" and acknowledged that none of the victims had posed a threat when killed.

Reflecting on his meeting with the families, the director added: "I am mindful that it has been a long road for the families to reach this point and today will be another extremely hard day for many of them".

Papers before prosecutors included 668 witness statements and numerous photos, video and audio evidence.


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