Bloody Sunday: Committal proceedings against Soldier F begin in Derry

Former paratrooper accused of murdering James Wray and William McKinney in 1972

The ex-paratrooper is accused of the murder of two people and the attempted murder of four people. Photograph: iStock

The ex-paratrooper is accused of the murder of two people and the attempted murder of four people. Photograph: iStock

 

Committal proceedings against a former soldier charged with murder over Bloody Sunday have begun in Derry.

Soldier F is accused of murdering James Wray and William McKinney on January 30th, 1972, when British troops opened fire on civil rights demonstrators in the Bogside area of Derry, killing 13 people.

The ex-paratrooper is also accused of the attempted murders of Patrick O’Donnell, Joseph Friel, Joe Mahon and Michael Quinn.

He faces a seventh supporting charge of the attempted murder of a person or persons unknown on the day.

The prosecution made opening remarks in Derry Magistrate’s Court on Monday, however reporting restrictions imposed on the hearing have prevented the media from publishing any of the details.

The committal hearing is a preliminary inquiry to decide whether there is enough evidence to proceed to a Crown Court trial.

The hearing is expected to last a few weeks, with reporting restrictions on the opening statements and witness testimony for legal reasons.

Soldier F has been granted anonymity, which District Judge Ted Magill said would continue until further notice.

Judge Magill said that Judge Barney McElholm granted the anonymity order and that he decided it will continue.

Soldier F listened to the proceedings remotely because of Covid-19 restrictions.

The court heard that some of the families of the Bloody Sunday victims were to watch court proceedings remotely in a separate venue in the city.

A total of 13 people were killed and 15 wounded when members of the Army’s Parachute Regiment opened fire on demonstrators on Sunday, January 30th, 1972.

It was one of the catalysts for the Northern Ireland conflict which lasted for decades and cost thousands of lives.

Court proceedings are due to continue on Tuesday at 10.30am. – PA