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Ex-soldier to be prosecuted over killings — Bloody Sunday
14 March 2019, 08:13 | Glen Norman
Victims Soldier F is accused of murdering James Wray and William McKinney
Pallbearers carry one of 13 coffins of Bloody Sunday victims to a graveside on February 2, 1972.
Thirteen civil rights demonstrators were shot dead on January 30 1972, on one of the most notorious days of the Northern Ireland Troubles.
The PPS will announce on Thursday whether the soldiers will face charges.
Families of those killed during Bloody Sunday march begin their march on March 14, 2019 in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Their lawyers said they would challenge in the High Court any prosecutorial decision that did not withstand scrutiny.
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".
On Jan. 30, 1972, British troops opened fire during an unauthorized march in the Bogside, a nationalist area of Londonderry.
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Those killed on Bloody Sunday were John "Jackie" Duddy, 17, Michael Kelly, 17, Hugh Gilmour, 17, John Young, 17, Kevin McElhinney, 17, Gerard Donaghy, 17, William Nash, 19, Michael McDaid, 20, James "Jim" Wray, 22, William McKinney, 26, Patrick Doherty, 31, Gerard McKinney, 35, and Bernard "Barney" McGuigan, 41. Veteran civil rights campaigner Eamonn McCann's hands shook as he comforted her.
Stephen Herron, the director of public prosecutions said in a statement: "In these circumstances, the evidential test for prosecution is..."
But in 2017, it emerged that the PPS was considering prosecuting up to 18 paratroopers who were involved in the massacre as well as two former Official IRA men.
Gavin Williamson confirmed the Ministry of Defence would support "soldier F" and pay the legal costs. "Our serving and former personnel can not live in constant fear of prosecution".
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.
Lord Widgery's 1972 inquiry stated the soldiers only fired after being fired upon.
The Bloody Sunday killings caused widespread anger at the time - not least in the United States, where support for the Irish Republican cause runs high - and almost 50 years later the incident remains highly emotive.
The families of the victims have campaigned for decades for the former soldiers to face justice.
Families gathered to give their reaction in Derry's Guildhall.
The 2010 Saville inquiry ruled the shootings were unjustified, with his 5,000-page report finding none of the casualties had been posing a threat of causing death or serious injury.
Tensions have eased since the 1998 Good Friday peace accord, which created a system for Republican and Unionist parties to share power in Northern Ireland. British troops subsequently withdrew from the province, but tensions still persist and a auto bomb exploded outside Londonderry's main courthouse in January.
Northern Ireland minister Karen Bradley has also drawn criticism for saying killings by British security forces and police "were not crimes".
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