Former British Soldier To Be Prosecuted For 1972 'Bloody Sunday' Killings

Flowers are left at the memorial for the people who died during the Bloody Sunday events

"But Bloody Sunday was different because, where the State's own authorities are concerned, we must be as sure as we can of the truth, precisely because we do pride ourselves on our democracy and our respect for the law, and on the professionalism and dedication of our security forces", Blair said.

His assertion that there were "gunmen and bombers killed" was rejected in Lord Saville's report. "He had gone to the civil rights march in the role of amateur photographer", said the newspaper's tribute to him. Lord Widgery's 1972 inquiry stated the soldiers only fired after being fired upon.

After prolonged skirmishes between groups of youths and the Army, soldiers from the Parachute Regiment moved in to make arrests. He was shot while running for cover after the soldiers opened fire.

Linda Nash, whose youngest brother William Nash died on Bloody Sunday, wept and hugged campaigner Eamonn McCann after it was announced that a British soldier will be prosecuted over the shootings.

"The 22-year-old had worked in England for some time and was engaged to an English girl".

The Saville Inquiry found that both William McKinney and James Wray could have been shot by Soldier F and three other soldiers.

Lord Saville's 5,000-page report made it clear none of those who died "posed a threat of causing death or serious injury" and soldiers had simply panicked and lost their self-control.

Sean Ferry from the Greater Shantallow area also travelled into town as he, too, wished to show solidarity with the Bloody Sunday families.

"In these circumstances, the evidential test for prosecution is not met", Herron said.

He continued: "There has been a level of expectation around the prosecution decisions in light of the findings of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry".

"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", Herron said.

Linda Nash and campaigner Eamonn Mc Cann react

The march began shortly after 15:00 GMT on 30 January 1972, and the intended destination was the city centre.

And as they gathered in silent formation once more to lead the march on the short distance to the Guildhall, an awaiting crowd lined the City Walls along Guildhall Square to greet the families with muted applause.

He added: "I am mindful that it has been a long road for the families to reach this point and today will be another extremely hard day for many of them".

But he welcomed the positive news for the six families impacted by the decision to prosecute soldier F.

"Their victory is our victory", Kelly said.

Bloody Sunday is the nickname given to an incident that took place during a civil rights march on January 30, 1972.

The families and members of the public were joined by a host of dignitaries, human rights activists, community representatives and politicians including SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood, Sinn Fein leader Michelle O'Neill, Foyle MP Elisha McCallion and Mayor of Derry & Strabane Colr.

The official British response was to praise and promise to protect the soldier.

An official inquiry into the incident was set up in 1998, when a peace deal was signed to end the Northern Ireland conflict.

"We would like to remind everyone that no prosecution or if it comes to it no conviction does not mean not guilty, it does not mean that no crime was committed, it does not mean that those soldiers acted in a dignified and appropriate way", Mickey McKinney, brother to one of the victims, told a news conference.

"The welfare of our former service personnel is of the utmost importance and we will offer full legal and pastoral support to anyone affected by today's decision". This includes funding all his legal costs and providing welfare support.

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