March 14, 2019 7:29 am
Updated: March 14, 2019 10:05 pm

One British soldier facing charges for Bloody Sunday shootings that killed 14

WATCH: A former British soldier has been charged with killing two men, and the attempted murder of four others, in what's become known as 'Bloody Sunday.' On January 30, 1972, soldiers shot and killed 13 civilians in Northern Ireland. As Redmond Shannon reports, the victims' families who have waited decades for this were hoping for more.

A A

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.

Story continues below

The shootings marked the height of a violent period known as “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland, where Catholic and Protestant paramilitary groups clashed over British control of the country. More than 3,700 people were killed over several decades of violence, which ended with the Good Friday Peace Agreement in 1998.

READ MORE: Why the Irish border is a major sticking point in Brexit negotiations

The former soldier, identified only as “soldier F” of the Parachute Regiment’s 1st battalion, will be charged for the murders of James Wray and William McKinney, and for the attempted murders of Joseph Friel, Michael Quinn, Joe McMahon and Patrick O’Donnell.

British troops opened fire on protesters participating in an unauthorized march in Bogside, a nationalist area of Londonderry, on Jan. 30, 1972. Thirteen people were killed, 14 were wounded and one of the wounded later died. The victims were all unarmed Catholics. Six of them were 17 years old.

Northern Ireland’s Public Prosecution Service declined to charge another 16 former soldiers from the same battalion, citing insufficient evidence.

WATCH BELOW: Four arrested after car bombing in Northern Ireland

The charges follow a decade-long investigation that concluded the soldiers killed unarmed demonstrators. However, the results of the inquiry that concluded in 2010 could not be used in any prosecution, and Thursday’s charges resulted from a separate police investigation into the incident.

Families hold photographs of the victims of Bloody Sunday and march through the Bogside in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, Thursday March 14, 2019.

Liam McBurney/PA via AP

“I wish to clearly state that where a decision has been reached not to prosecute, that this is in no way diminishes any finding by the Bloody Sunday Inquiry that those killed or injured were not posing a threat to any of the soldiers,” Stephen Herron, the director of public prosecutions for Northern Ireland, said as he announced the charges. “We recognize the deep disappointment felt by many of those we met with today.”

READ MORE: How the 'New IRA' is capitalizing on Brexit's border troubles

The victims’ families have called for justice, while supporters of the soldiers say it’s unfair for them to face charges decades after the events.

This file photo shows a man walking past a Bloody Sunday mural in the Bogside, Londonderry, Northern Ireland, on June 15, 2010.

EPA/STR

Several of the victims’ families hailed the charges as “vindication” in a statement issued on Thursday.

With files from The Associated Press and Reuters

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Report an error

Comments

Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.