Former British soldier charged with murder over Bloody Sunday deaths

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The prosecutor announced on Thursday that there was sufficient evidence to prosecute "Soldier F" for the murder of James Wray and William McKinney and for the attempted murders of Joseph Friel, Michael Quinn, Joe Mahon and Patrick O'Donnell.

Following the announcement that former British soldiers are to travel to Derry to protest, republican group Saoradh announced that they will oppose any march by the Justice for Northern Ireland Veterans.

On 30 January 1972 soldiers from the British Parachute Regiment opened fire on Irish Catholic civil rights demonstrators in the Bogside district of Londonderry, the second biggest city in Northern Ireland, killing 13 people.

Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland, Stephen Herron said he was conscious relatives faced an "extremely hard day", but "much of the material which was available for consideration by the Inquiry is not admissible in criminal proceedings, due to strict rules of evidence that apply", he said.

In total, police reported 20 suspects to the PPS - 18 of them former soldiers, one of whom died past year.

"Saville said Wray, who posed no great danger, was shot twice in the back and there were four soldiers who could have fired at him - soldiers E, F, G or H".

Police also investigated whether any suspects perjured themselves while giving evidence to the long-running Bloody Sunday inquiry.

"We found no instances where it appeared to us that soldiers either were or might have been justified in firing", the published report stated.

"Their victory is our victory", Kelly said.

Soldiers had been sent into the Bogside nationalist housing estate to deal with riots which followed a Derry march defying a ban on public processions.

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One said: 'I am furious, one prosecution is one too many.' The soldier, in his 70s, added: 'Where is the protection for British soldiers?

Bloody Sunday is the nickname given to an incident that took place during a civil rights march on January 30, 1972.

"In these circumstances, the evidential test for prosecution is not met", Herron said.

"We will give detailed consideration to the reasons provided for decisions not to prosecute the other soldiers, with a view to making further submissions to the Prosecution Service and we shall ultimately challenge in the High Court, by way of judicial review, any prosecutorial decision that does not withstand scrutiny".

"The welfare of our former service personnel is of the utmost importance and we will offer full legal and pastoral support to the individual affected by today's decision". This includes funding all his legal costs and providing welfare support. He also promised that the government will pass a new package of safeguards to protect members of the armed forces from unfair treatment. We have cried out for them for many years, and now we have succeeded for them.

"And the government will urgently reform the system for dealing with legacy issues", he said.

"David Cameron, British prime minister at the time, apologized, saying", I am deeply sorry, and called what happened on Bloody Sunday "both unjustified and unjustifiable".

The charges announced Thursday come more than two years after police referred their findings to prosecutors and nearly nine years after the conclusion of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, which was tasked with determining what happened, not bringing criminal charges. "Our serving and former personnel can not live in constant fear of prosecution", he added.

Stephen Herron, director of public prosecutions for Northern Ireland, said in a statement Thursday that the decision to try only Soldier F was based on a lack of admissible evidence to prosecute more of the soldiers.

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