Former soldier to face prosecution over killings — Bloody Sunday

Bloody Sunday British paratrooper charged with two murders over massacre | Daily Star

Nonetheless, he said the relatives were happy for the families of the six victims who will now see a soldier prosecuted.

Northern Ireland's Public Prosecution Service will announce on Thursday whether it will seek prosecutions over the so-called Bloody Sunday killings in 1972.

The PPS said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute 16 other soldiers and two official IRA men.

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.

"We recognise the deep disappointment felt by many of those we met with today".

Bloody Sunday British paratrooper charged with two murders over massacre | Daily Star
Only One Former British Soldier Will Face Trial For Opening Fire On Bloody Sunday

Fourteen civilians were killed when British soldiers fired on a crowd after a civil rights march in the city.

A judicial inquiry into the events of Bloody Sunday, which took place at the height of Northern Ireland's 30-year sectarian conflict, said in 2010 the victims were innocent and had posed no threat to the military.

Following the inquiry's conclusion in 2010, then prime minister David Cameron said the killings were "unjustified and unjustifiable".

Those killed on Bloody Sunday were John "Jackie" Duddy, 17, Michael Kelly, 17, Hugh Gilmour, 17, John Young, 17, Kevin McElhinney, 17, Gerard Donaghy, 17, William Nash, 19, Michael McDaid, 20, James "Jim" Wray, 22, William McKinney, 26, Patrick Doherty, 31, Gerard McKinney, 35, and Bernard "Barney" McGuigan, 41. The victims' families, as well as the British, Irish and United States governments, saw the findings as a step toward healing one of the biggest wounds left by the four-decade conflict in Northern Ireland that left 3700 people dead.

Mr Wray's brother, Liam Wray, told the BBC he was "relieved" over news of the prosecution, and said his family had been "fighting for 47 years".

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Stephen Herron, the director of public prosecutions said in a statement: "In these circumstances, the evidential test for prosecution is..."

He noted that today "will be another extremely hard day" for family members of the victims of the massacre and noted that he met with them personally "to explain the prosecution decisions taken and to help them understand the reasons".

"The welfare of our former service personnel is of the utmost importance", Defence Minister Gavin Williamson said in a statement. "We have walked a long journey since our fathers and brothers were brutally slaughtered on the streets of Derry on Bloody Sunday".

A short internal military inquiry shortly after Bloody Sunday, known as the Widgery Report, concluded the soldiers had done nothing wrong.

Ex-paratroopers have claimed they opened fire after being fired upon first.

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The Ministry of Defence has confirmed it will cover the legal costs of any soldier facing criminal charges over Bloody Sunday.

"The Government will urgently reform the system for dealing with legacy issues".

"Our serving and former personnel can not live in constant fear of prosecution", he said.

The charges announced yesterday come more than two years after police referred their findings to prosecutors and nearly nine years after the conclusion of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, which was tasked with determining what happened, not bringing criminal charges.

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