Former paratrooper to face two murder charges over Bloody Sunday

Former paratrooper to face two murder charges over Bloody Sunday

Former paratrooper to face two murder charges over Bloody Sunday

A former British soldier faces six charges, including two counts of murder, in connection with the deaths of 14 civil rights protesters in Northern Ireland more than 40 years ago, during the 1972 massacre known as Bloody Sunday.

The decision means the PPS believes there is sufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction, and that prosecution would be in the public interest.

"The decision to prosecute just one ex-soldier does not change the fact that Bloody Sunday was a massacre of innocents", Sinn Fein's Northern Ireland leader Michelle O'Neill said in a statement.

It pitched Irish nationalists, who wanted the north to unite with the Republic of Ireland in the south, against unionists, who campaigned for the region to remain part of the UK.

Today it said one former British soldier, referred to as Soldier F, will be charged with the murders of James Wray and William McKinney.

Over time, though, the victims' families got organized, campaigned for justice and eventually, more than 25 years after the killings, when a peace deal was signed in Northern Ireland, the British government committed to a full-scale inquiry.

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The PPS has concluded that there is evidence available to prosecute a former soldier for the murder of two of the 13 people who were killed in the Bogside area of Londonderry on January 30 1972.

Prosecution Service lawyers are due to meet the victims' families in Londonderry on Thursday and tell them if the soldiers will be put in the dock. One of the injured died months later from an inoperable tumour and some consider him the 14th fatality.

Although rioting had become routine for Derry's youth, McCann describes the impact of Bloody Sunday as a game-changer in Northern Ireland.

"There has been a level of expectation around the prosecution decisions in light of the findings of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry", he said.

Ex-paratroopers have claimed they opened fire after being fired upon first.

He said: "This is a remarkable achievement by the families and victims of Bloody Sunday".

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Relatives of the deceased have waited for decades to see whether or not the individuals will be charged.

In 2010, then British prime minister David Cameron issued a formal state apology for the killings, calling them "unjustified and unjustifiable".

The complex investigation files included 668 witness statements, numerous physical exhibits such as photographs, video and audio recordings, and a total of 125,000 pages of material.

The Northern Ireland Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Michael Agnew, informed victim's families of the decision at a private meeting this morning.

He noted that today "will be another extremely hard day" for family members of the victims of the massacre and noted that he met with them personally "to explain the prosecution decisions taken and to help them understand the reasons".

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