British soldier faces murder charges over Ireland’s ‘Bloody Sunday’, 47 years later

Sergio Conner
March 16, 2019

Soldiers had been sent into the Bogside to deal with riots which followed a Derry march defying a ban on public processions.

Following a day of high drama in Derry, it emerged last night that lawyers for the victims' relatives have asked the PPS to review its decision.

The incoming British Prime Minister David Cameron then issued a formal apology for the killings, calling them "unjustified and unjustifiable".

Mickey McKinney, a brother of William McKinney, alluded to recent comments about state killings by Secretary of State Karen Bradley, for which she later apologised. It does not mean that no crime was committed. "It does not mean that those soldiers acted in a dignified and appropriate way".

Lawyer Ciaran Shiels, who represents numerous Bloody Sunday families, suggested last night that the destruction of some of the guns used by soldiers possibly prevented other charges being brought. After the announcement, they were unable to hide their disappointment with the decision.

Former Coldstream Guardsman Vern Tilbury, 58, accused the country of "spitting on" its veterans and said the Government looked upon former soldiers as "collateral damage".

"If we are not satisfied with that review, we may seek a judicial review of the decision", he said.

But "in respect of the other 18 suspects, including 16 former soldiers and two alleged Official IRA members, it has been concluded that the available evidence is insufficient to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction", a prosecutor's statement said. See PA story ULSTER Sunday.

Britain's Ministry of Defense said it would help defend the ex-soldier who will now face prosecution, while working to reform the system for investigating allegations of past misdeeds by the military.

"With today's news, we now achieve our third aim".

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A fresh probe was eventually ordered by former prime minister Tony Blair in 1998.

"We are putting out a call to as many veterans who served in Northern Ireland and want to travel over and descend on Londonderry and march through the streets".

For the vast majority of the families those hopes were to be dashed shortly after they arrived in the City hotel to be told by Northern Ireland's Public Prosecution Service (PPS) that only one former soldier would face murder charges over the deaths of James Wray and William McKinney, and attempted murder charges relating to Joseph Friel, Michael Quinn, Joe Mahon and Patrick O'Donnell. Picture Margaret McLaughlin 14-3-2019.

"Their victory is our victory", he said. It is the duty of the living to do so far them.

The journey may have been much shorter than the well-trodden route undertaken by hundreds of thousands down the years on the anniversary of that fateful day, but the magnitude of the moment was lost on no-one as they gathered outside the Museum of Free Derry at Glenfada Park yesterday morning.

"For us here today, it is important to point out that justice for one family is justice for all of us". Their loved ones innocence was vindicated and they've also now got very close to getting a British soldier into court. Some broke down in tears as they left a private meeting with Director of Public Prosecutions Stephen Herron.

William McKinney's brother Michael said it was "disappointing" for families who had not received news of prosecutions.

Mr Mercer also tweeted that the Bloody Sunday charges brought against Soldier F were the result of "an abject failure to govern and legislate, on our watch as a Conservative administration".

"It was a bad day for justice".

Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland, Stephen Herron said he was conscious relatives faced an "extremely hard day", but "much of the material which was available for consideration by the Inquiry is not admissible in criminal proceedings, due to strict rules of evidence that apply", he said. I also commend the dignity and solidarity shown by the families today in response to the decision. Others may take a different view.

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