Deaths close chapter on Bloody Sunday
Deaths close chapter on Bloody Sunday

Former British prime minister Ted Heath has died at the age of 89, a day after the death of the last surviving mother of a Bloody Sunday victim.

He will chiefly be remembered in Ireland as the man responsible for Bloody Sunday, when British paratroopers opened fire on civil rights demonstrators in Derry on January 30, 1972, killing 13 people.

He later sought to cover up the truth of the massacre by setting up the bogus Widgery tribunal, instructing to head of the tribunal to remember that the British were fighting a propaganda war as well as a military war in Ireland.

Mr Heath gave evidence to the newly established inquiry Saville Inquiry in January 2003.

During his testimony, he described as “absurd” the suggestion that the British government had planned the events of Bloody Sunday.

Among those killed on Bloody Sunday was 26-year-old William McKinney. Mr McKinney’s mother Nancy died on Saturday.

Derry-based Sinn Féin assembly member Mitchel McLaughlin last night said it was ironic that the former British prime minister had died during the same weekend as Mrs McKinney.

“Nancy McKinney, as with the mothers of the other victims of Bloody Sunday, has died without ever knowing the truth behind her son’s death,” said Mr McLaughlin.

“During his testimony to the Saville inquiry, Ted Heath showed complete disregard for the inquiry and the people of Derry.

“He will always be remembered in Derry as the man who told Widgery before the first inquiry into Bloody Sunday that the British were fighting a propaganda war as well as a military war in the North, thus preparing the way for the whitewash that was the Widgery report.”

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