Now for justice

The prosecution of the Bloody Sunday soldiers is being sought by at least some of those whose loved ones were shot dead and then smeared by their killers.

Their actions were described as akin to those of “Nazi stormtroopers” by former senior British army officer Colonel Richard Kemp.

Saville found some of the soldiers killed or wounded a number of people, with one soldier, known as ‘Lance Corporal F’, responsible for up to six killings, and wounded four more. The families are aware of his name but have not disclosed it due to Lord Saville’s ruling that to do so would be tantamount to contempt of court.

It is unclear whether that ruling still applies now that the inquiry is concluded. Were ‘Lance Corporal F’ charged it could be a matter for the court trying him to decide whether his name could be revealed.

As well as possible contempt charges, naming the former soldier could be in contravention of “right to life” legislation.

John Kelly, whose brother was shot dead by Lance Corporal F, said he believed he should be prosecuted for murder.

Speaking in the Bogside yesterday Mr Kelly said, “He walked around this street killing at will. As far as I am concerned he should be brought to book for what he did here. The PPS are looking at Saville with a view to prosecution, so my view on it is let them finish the job.”

Some other Bloody Sunday families have called for prosecution while others said they were happy with the report.

“Not everybody feels the same as me,” said Kelly. “Others are happy and delighted with what they got; others want prosecutions but they don’t want the soldiers to go to jail; but we all respect each other’s opinion,” he said.

Damien Donaghey, who was 15 years old when he was shot in the leg on Bloody Sunday while attending the civil rights march, said the soldiers needed to be brought to justice.

“If war crimes perpetrated by the Nazis can be prosecuted, then why not this?” he said.

Mr Donaghey also said the British government must have had something to do with the decision by soldiers to shoot people.

Liam Wray said he broke into floods of tears when he read the report’s conclusions. “I have felt a responsibility and duty of love to my brother like all the relatives for the last 38 years.

“The beautiful thing about this is that it gives hope to other people around the world. If you campaign long enough then justice will prevail,” he said.

He said he hoped the PSNI and public prosecution service would seek prosecutions. Many people in Derry had taken the risk to support the PSNI, and now it was up to them to do their duty, he said.

Saville found that some of the former soldier witnesses, who were granted anonymity, committed perjury at the tribunal when they gave evidence in London.

In this regard prosecutors in the North are to consult with the British Crown Prosecution Service to find “where jurisdiction lies in regard to any possible offences that arise”.

Michael Mansfield, QC, who represented some of the Bloody Sunday families said that consideration should be given to bringing perjury charges.

“I do think, given the strength and clarity of the conclusions, where invented stories or falsehoods were told, that the Director of Public Prosecutions, either here in Northern Ireland or in London, should consider whether it is so serious - because the rule of law has been flagrantly breached on this occasion by a number of soldiers on a number of UK citizens - that consideration should be given to a prosecution,” he said.


Sinn Fein west Belfast MP Gerry Adams this morning hosted a press conference to highlight the demand for truth and justice by the families of those killed in Ballymurphy and Springhill almost 40 years ago.

Mr. Adams said: “On Tuesday the Bloody Sunday families finally achieved truth for themselves and their loved ones.

“The British Prime Minister in apologising for the actions of the Paras stated that “Bloody Sunday is not the defining story of the service the British Army gave in Northern Ireland from 1969-2007.”

“That is wrong.

“Bloody Sunday is the defining story of the British Army in Ireland.

“The British Army, British Military Intelligence, and a variety of British intelligence agencies, like the Military Reaction Force and the Force Reconnaissance Unit, along with the UDR and RUC, were directly responsible for 400 deaths in disputed circumstances.

“Through collusion and sectarian murders they were responsible for hundreds more.

“The Ballymurphy and the Springhill Massacres are examples of this and in these cases, as in so many others, the families still do not have truth.

“In Ballymurphy six months before Bloody Sunday, we have another striking example of the brutality with which the Paras acted and how the British system then connived in a cover-up.

“In the 36 hours after the introduction of internment in August 1971 eleven people - ten men, including a local priest and a mother of eight children - were killed by the British Army’s Parachute Regiment in the Ballymurphy area.

“The accounts of how their loved ones died the bear a striking similarity to the stories told by the Derry families and now vindicated by the Saville report..

“Paratroopers also killed others in Belfast in the same period, including a 14 year old boy in Lenadoon, a 17 year old in the Clonard area, a student teacher from Downpatrick outside St. Comgalls in Divis Street and Robert McKinnie and Robert Johnstone from the Shankill.

“Six months after Bloody Sunday, on 9 July 1972, they shot dead five people in Springhill.

“Among the dead was the second Catholic priest to be killed in greater Ballymurphy. He was administering the Last Rites to victims when he himself was cut down.

“Of the four others killed, three were teenagers and the last was a father of six children who was with the local priest.

“On 9 March 1973 the Parachute Regiment arrived for duty in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast. Within weeks they had shot and killed 5 people, one a 12-year-old boy.

“In South Armagh a 12 year old schoolgirl was shot dead on 14 August 1976.

“None of those killed had any connection to any armed group. They were all innocent civilians.

“All of these families deserve the full support and encouragement of the community, and of the Irish government, in their efforts to secure an independent international investigation in these deaths.

“We will be meeting the British secretary of State about these matters.

“The British government in acknowledging the wrong done in Derry must acknowledge the wrong done in Ballymurphy and elsewhere and to these families. It must make a public apology for what it and its armed forces did.”

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