Saville Inquiry exonerates Bloody Sunday victims

The Saville inquiry into the Bloody Sunday killings found the actions of British soldiers was “both unjustified and unjustifiable”, British prime minister David Cameron said today.

Mr Cameron apologised for the massacre of January 30th, 1972, which left 14 people dead.

The 12-year inquiry, the longest in British judicial history, runs to some 5,000 pages.

The full report was published as British prime minister David Cameron makes a statement in the House of Commons. The report was simultaneously be released in London and Dublin.

Thousands marched again today from the Bogside to the Guildhall, the original destination of the civil rights march, to watch Cameron’s address to the London parliament.

The order that sent British soldiers into the Bogside on 30 January 1972 “should not have been given”, the inquiry finds, said Mr Cameron.

Mr Cameron said the report found none of those killed by British soldiers were armed with firearms and no warning was given by the soldiers.

The casualties were down to the soldiers “losing their self control and forgetting their training”, said Mr Cameron, before adding: “I am deeply, deeply sorry.”

Mr Cameron told MPs: “What happened on Bloody Sunday was both unjustified and unjustifiable. It was wrong.”

He added that “what happened should never have happened”.

“The Government is ultimately responsible for the conduct of the armed forces. And for that, on behalf of the Government, indeed on behalf of our country, I am deeply sorry.”

The Prime Minister said the tribunal found some soldiers had “knowingly put forward false accounts”.

Mr Cameron added Martin McGuinness was present on Bloody Sunday and “probably armed with a machine gun”, Mr Cameron added, but there was no evidence to suggest that he was going to use it.

Crowds in Derry watched on a big outdoor screen and cheered as the Prime Minister said he could not defend the British army by defending the indefensible.

Following Cameron’s address, the relatives from the Guildhall, where they had received a summary of the findings and the details regarding their own personal family members, to loud cheers.

Earlier, they had appeared at the windows of the Guildhall, where many of them gave the ‘thumbs up’ signal, again to cheers.

Family members are currently addressing the crowd outside the Guildhall, reading extracts from the Inquiry’s report exonerating their relatives.

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