Northern Ireland

British soldier to appear in court charged in connection with Bloody Sunday for the first time 52 years on

Soldier F is charged with the murders of William McKinney and Jim Wray

Michael McKinney said the case against Soldier F must proceed immediately
Michael McKinney said Friday's hearing would be significant and emotional.

British army veteran, Soldier F, who is charged with murdering two men on Bloody Sunday, is expected to appear in court in person for the first time on Friday.

While Soldier F has been present remotely at earlier hearings, it will be the first time in 52 years that any former soldier has appeared in court in person in connection with the deaths.

He has been charged with the murders of William McKinney and Jim Wray and the attempted murders of five others on Bloody Sunday and will appear before Belfast Crown Court.

Confirming Soldier F’s appearance, a spokesperson for the Courts’ Service said: “Soldier F is due to attend in person and there is an anonymity order in place for the defendant.”

The hearing will consider whether or not the interim anonymity order given to Soldier F should be extended. There was anger earlier this week when it was revealed that the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) would not challenge the anonymity order despite the views of the Bloody Sunday families.

SDLP leader, Colum Eastwood, who previously named Soldier F in the House of Commons, said his anonymity was a “sham” as his name was widely known.

“The treatment of the Bloody Sunday families has been a disgrace for the last 50 years and it remains a disgrace today,” Mr Eastwood said.

Michael McKinney, a brother of William McKinney, said Friday’s court appearance would be “significant and emotional”.

Mr McKinney said: “While it is another step along the way in this process, it is significant and will be emotional. But we are keen to have this dealt with and move on to the full trial with no delays.”