Former British Soldier To Be Prosecuted For 1972 'Bloody Sunday' Killings

Footage of the late Catholic Bishop of Derry Edward Daly waving a bloodied handkerchief became the iconic symbol of Bloody Sunday

Former soldiers who killed thirteen men on Bloody Sunday will learn today if they're to be charged with murder.

The march had been banned by Northern Ireland's police and the British Army, but organizers wanted a peaceful demonstration, avoiding confrontation at the barricades with the well-armed soldiers.

The PPS found there was sufficient evidence to charge the ex-serviceman "Soldier F", but insufficient evidence to bring charges against 16 other former members of the 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment and two IRA suspects present on the day of the killings.

Over time, though, the victims' families got organized, campaigned for justice and eventually, more than 25 years after the killings, when a peace deal was signed in Northern Ireland, the British government committed to a full-scale inquiry.

"I wish to clearly state that where a decision has been reached not to prosecute, that this is in no way diminishes any finding by the Bloody Sunday Inquiry that those killed or injured were not posing a threat to any of the soldiers", Stephen Herron, the director of public prosecutions for Northern Ireland, said as he announced the charges.

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

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said it was important that no one said anything to prejudice the process following Thursday's decision, adding that his thoughts were with all of the families.

However, the government has proposed legislation to widen the programme to offences taking place from 1968, meaning any Bloody Sunday prosecutions would be eligible.

Families of the dead sought to right the wrongs of false claims that their loved ones had been armed. No one was injured.

However, a decade-long investigation by Lord Saville concluded that the troops killed protesters who posed no threat.

The then UK Prime Minister David Cameron later apologised for the killings in the House of Commons, in a historic move which many former servicemen in the Bogside that day believed exonerated them. One has since died.

Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland, Stephen Herron said he was conscious relatives faced an "extremely hard day".

The complex investigation files included 668 witness statements, numerous physical exhibits such as photographs, video and audio recordings, and a total of 125,000 pages of material.

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

He noted that today "will be another extremely hard day" for family members of the victims of the massacre and noted that he met with them personally "to explain the prosecution decisions taken and to help them understand the reasons".

"There has been a level of expectation around the prosecution decisions in light of the findings of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry".

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