Criminal inquiry into Bloody Sunday to begin

Fri, Dec 21, 2012, 00:00

The question of criminal charges against British soldiers over the Bloody Sunday killings in Derry 40 years ago is to be examined by a team of 15 detectives, the Deputy Chief Constable of the PSNI announced yesterday.

Judith Gillespie made the announcement in Derry following a meeting with relatives of the 13 men who were shot dead on January 30th, 1972, and with relatives of the 14 men wounded when British army paratroopers opened fire on unarmed civilians in the Bogside area of the city.

Ms Gillespie said the team would be properly resourced and if necessary increased in size as the investigation, which could take up to four years, continued.

She said the team would start its work next month and confirmed that soldiers involved in the shootings would be interviewed under caution.

The relatives of the victims welcomed the announcement. John Kelly, whose brother Michael was killed on Bloody Sunday, said the families had been in limbo since the PSNI first mooted the possibility of such an investigation six months ago.

“We pushed for this meeting because we were concerned about what, if anything, was being done. As far as I am concerned the investigations are now under way with this announcement and that is important to us because the soldiers must account for their actions on the day.”

Michael McKinney, whose brother was one of the Bloody Sunday victims, said the PSNI had given “a firm assurance” that the process would continue until its completion.

Ms Gillespie said the investigation would be painstaking. “We will be asking for public support in the form of witnesses who gave evidence to the Saville inquiry now making statements to detectives.”