Derry awaits decision on 1972 killings — Bloody Sunday

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

The Jan. 30, 1972, massacre became one of the main flashpoints in the Troubles, the 30-year struggle over the status of Northern Ireland that claimed at least 3,500 lives.

The decision has led to polarised opinions underlining the extremely sensitive nature of the shootings and their consequences.

"We have walked a long journey since our fathers and brothers were brutally slaughtered on the streets of Derry on Bloody Sunday, over that passage of time all the parents of the deceased have died - we are here to take their place".

Today, Northern Ireland's Director of Public Prosecutions announced that a former Paratrooper will be prosecuted for two murders and four attempted murders. One former soldier has since died. What happened on Bloody Sunday was both unjustified and unjustifiable.

"Their hearts must be broken", he said.

"For now though, this is a day to commend and offer our ongoing solidarity to all the Bloody Sunday families and campaigners".

He added: "There are a lot of sad and heartbroken people today".

Victim's families said they were disappointed by the decision.

Sinn Fein said it shared the families' disappointment and "sense of incredulity" at the PPS's decision.

Others who died that day included Patrick Doherty, Gerald Donaghey, John Duddy, whose body being carried by protestors is immortalized in a noted photograph, Hugh Gilmour, Michael Kelly, Michael McDaid, Kevin McElhinney, Bernard McGuigan, Gerald McKinney, William Nash and John Young.

Mr Herron said he was conscious that relatives faced an "extremely hard day".

Her sister Kate said they would appeal the decision.

An immediate British government inquiry after the 1972 March exonerated the soldiers, finding they had been fired on first.

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".

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"We found no instances where it appeared to us that soldiers either were or might have been justified in firing", the published report stated.

An image of a Catholic priest waving a bloodstained handkerchief as he tried to help a victim to safety went around the world.

However, Saville concluded Mr Kelly was unarmed.

The families campaigned for prosecutions after the Saville Inquiry found their loved ones were shot without justification. They also pledged to challenge the ruling that gave Soldier F anonymity.

The PPS pored over more than 125,000 pages of evidence from Bloody Sunday in coming to their decision.

"Consideration will now be given to allegations of perjury in respect of those suspects reported by police", added the PPS.

Soldier F's trial is expected to be before a so-called Diplock court, a no-jury trial introduced in Northern Ireland in 1972 in an attempt to prevent intimidation of jurors by terrorist groups.

An official inquiry into the incident was set up in 1998, when a peace deal was signed to end the Northern Ireland conflict. "This includes funding all his legal costs and providing welfare support".

"The Ministry of Defense is working across government to drive through a new package of safeguards to ensure our armed forces are not unfairly treated. Our serving and former personnel can not live in constant fear of prosecution", he added.

Prime Minister Tony Blair announced that a new inquiry would be held, headed by judge Lord Saville.

What followed was a 12-year-long investigation involving more than 900 witnesses and hundreds of hours of evidence. We were there to protect civilians from the terrorists who preyed upon them.

However, Army barricades blocked marchers.

On Thursday, families of those who died marched from a memorial to Derry city centre.

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