‘Agony’ of former soldiers as Bloody Sunday decision delayed again

Soldiers take cover behind armoured cars in Londonderry in January 1972
Soldiers take cover behind armoured cars in Londonderry in January 1972

Veterans have been left in legal limbo after a decision on charging ex-paratroopers over Bloody Sunday was delayed until next year.

The Daily Telegraph claimed on Sunday that there is no chance of telling the ex-soldiers, who are in their 60s and 70s, if they will be dragged through the courts until next year. A decision was due to have been made at the end of 2017 and again by the summer.

Sergeant O, a former soldier whose identity cannot be disclosed, told the Daily Telegraph: “We live to wait. That’s all we do is wait, wait, wait. We were supposed to hear last winter then it was pushed back to the spring and then the summer. Now it’s back to next year.

“It’s agony. It’s disgraceful. I will be 77 very soon and it just keeps dragging on. I am heartily disgusted with the whole system.”

Sergeant O was interviewed under caution by police in April 2016 and has been waiting ever since for a decision on whether to charge him. A further 17 former paratroopers on duty on Bloody Sunday, when 14 people were killed in Londonderry on January 30 1972, are in the same position.

Interviews were completed more than two years ago by police with files passed to the Public Prosecution Service.

Sergeant O is facing jail for attempted murder over injuries to two protesters who were hit by flying debris, dislodged when he fired into the air.

He is partially paralysed down one side after a stroke, and says it is a “scandalous betrayal” that he is still being pursued almost half a century after Bloody Sunday.