Northern Ireland news

Bloody Sunday soldiers expected to face prosecution

Kay Duddy, whose teenage brother Jackie Duddy was shot dead on Bloody Sunday holds his picture and the stole worn by the then Fr Edward Daly during the civil rights march that day. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) will announce today whether British soldiers responsible for the deaths of 13 civil rights marchers in Derry in 1972 will be prosecuted.

The PPS decision will be delivered in Derry after the victims' families are briefed.

At least three former members of the Parachute Regiment are expected to face prosecution for Bloody Sunday.

Two others soldiers directly connected to the deaths of a number of people at the 1972 civil rights march, along with their platoon lieutenant, have since died.

The PPS has been considering if the evidential test for prosecution has been met based on ballistics, witness evidence and statements the soldiers made in the aftermath of the killings to Royal Military Police. Members of the Parachute Regiment also gave oral evidence to the Widgery tribunal and made statements in 1972 to the Treasury Solicitors Department, a government body that provided legal services to the MoD.

Read more: Bloody Sunday troops would qualify for early release, says Karen Bradley

The annual Derry Bloody Sunday march pauses at the mural in Derry's Bogside, dedicated to the 14 victims who died after being shot by the British Army on January 30th 1972.  Picture by Margaret McLaughlin 

Soldiers who gave evidence to Lord Saville during the Bloody Sunday Inquiry were granted anonymity and assured if they incriminated themselves it could not be used in any subsequent criminal proceedings.

However, none of the soldiers incriminated themselves to Lord Saville, most claiming to have little or no recollection of events on the day when 13 people were shot dead, a 14th person dying months later from his injuries.

Soldier G who shot 22-year-old Jim Wray in the back as he lay on the ground injured at Glenfada Park, and is thought to have shot dead father-of-eight Gerry McKinney, has since died.

Soldier O, who has given a number of interviews to the BBC, controversially disputing Saville's findings and maintaining it was a "job well done" is not expected to face prosecution.

Soldier F, who it has been previously alleged was linked to a number of shootings on Bloody Sunday, is among those expected to face charges.

Read more: Saville Report: - What it said about the Bloody Sunday victims

Paddy Doherty (31) was shot dead close to Rossville flats as was 41-year-old Barney McGuigan who was waving a white handkerchief at the time. Soldier F admitted firing in that general direction in a statement to the treasury solicitors made in 1972 and in a statement to the Royal Military Police.

Two other people were injured in that area.

A bullet recovered from the abdomen of 17-year-old Michael Kelly was linked to Soldier F's rifle and he was allegedly linked, along with the now deceased Private G, of shooting in the area where 27-year-old William McKinney was shot dead.

Corporal E, Lance Corporal J and Corporal P were allegedly linked to shootings in the area of a rubble barricade at Rossville Street.

Michael McDaid (20), John Young (17) and William Nash were all shot dead in that location.

Corporal E, a member of the Anti-Tank Platoon of 1st Para, has since died.

Soldier P and Lance Corporal J are expected to both face prosecution for their alleged role in the shootings that day, by way of joint enterprise murder.

In evidence to the Saville inquiry, Soldier P he claimed to have very little recollection of Bloody Sunday. Corporal J told the inquiry he had virtually no recollection of events of that day.

A decision will be made on Thursday regarding the prosecution of soldiers present on Bloody Sunday.

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