Published: Sat, March 16, 2019

Former British Soldier To Be Prosecuted For 1972 'Bloody Sunday' Killings

Former British Soldier To Be Prosecuted For 1972 'Bloody Sunday' Killings

"It has been a long road for the families... and today will be another extremely hard day for many of them", Northern Ireland's director of public prosecutions Stephen Herron said as he announced the charges.

The Public Prosecution Service said there was enough evidence to prosecute Soldier F for the murders of James Wray and William McKinney.

"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 them", Herron said.

Mr Shiels also confirmed that his firm, Madden and Finucane, has asked the PPS to review its decision not to prosecute other former soldiers.

Mr Kelly, whose brother, Michael (17) was one of those killed, said: "The dead can not cry out for justice".

It was an unequivocal conclusion for the relatives of the 13 civilians killed by British paratroopers in Derry on Bloody Sunday.

Mr Kelly highlighted there were legal means of challenging the decisions not to prosecute.

"The Bloody Sunday families are not finished yet", he said.

LAWYERS for the Bloody Sunday families have asked for a review of the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) decision to bring charges against just one former soldier involved in the 1972 killings.

They also considered whether to prosecute two former members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) for their role on the day, one of the seminal events during "The Troubles".

"In these circumstances, the evidential test for prosecution is not met", Herron said.

The troubled skies overhead seemed to mirror the palpable sense of nervousness among those gathered, knowing as they did, that within the hour the question they have long posed as to whether any of those whose actions on January 30, 1972, resulted in the loss of their brothers, fathers, neighbours and friends would face charges, would at last be finally answered.

Sean Ferry from the Greater Shantallow area also travelled into town as he, too, wished to show solidarity with the Bloody Sunday families.

The families of the victims of Bloody Sunday have hoped for years to have those who fired the fatal shots held accountable for the deaths.

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"We will show people that we will not tolerate one of ours being prosecuted when 300 convicted killers were released from jail and 150 "on the run" letters were handed out to those who weren't apprehended".

'This was feared because we have been let down so many times by those who should have supported us, ' he said.

"But even the fact that one former soldier is to face trial is a significant achievement. It happened 47 years ago, a line in the sand needs to be drawn and people need to move on".

"When I speak of a chasm between those who serve and their political masters in this country, I mean this", he added.

After Thursday's announcement, British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson promised the government's full support to Soldier F, including paying his legal costs.

"The PPS report will have to be studied very carefully and today is not a day for knee jerk reactions as it is crucial that legacy issues are dealt with in detail by both the Irish and British governments. Our serving and former personnel can not live in constant fear of prosecution", Mr. Williamson said.

As well as the 13 who died, a total of 15 others were shot and injured. But it exonerated the parachute regiment and blamed the march for the murders.

Prosecutors had been considering evidence in relation to counts of murder, attempted murder and causing grievous injury with intent.

The Provisional IRA later broke away from the Official IRA and began a bloody campaign of bombings and assassinations of off-duty police officers and soldiers which only ended in 1994. The victims were all unarmed Catholics.

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

The inquiry was authorised by then-Prime Minister Tony Blair in 1998 ahead of the negotiations that led to the Good Friday peace accord.

"Saville said Wray, who posed no great danger, was shot twice in the back and there were four soldiers who could have fired at him - soldiers E, F, G or H".

At the close of the second investigation in 2010, then-Prime Minister David Cameron made a public apology for the shootings, saying the shootings were "unjustified and unjustifiable".

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