Relatives angry at Bloody Sunday court ruling

Marchers on January 30th, 1972, the day that would become known as Bloody Sunday.
Marchers on January 30th, 1972, the day that would become known as Bloody Sunday.

Relatives of Bloody Sunday victims have expressed anger and frustration at a High Court ruling preventing former soldiers being questioned by police in Northern Ireland.

They have accused the Ministry of Defence (MoD) of deploying stalling tactics and vowed to continue their quest for justice.

Kate Nash, whose 19-year-old brother William was killed, said: “We have fought for a very long time and we will continue to fight. If it takes us to go to England then so be it.”

Thirteen people were shot dead when members of the Parachute Regiment opened fire on civil rights protesters marching in Londonderry on January 30 1972.

Another man died from his wounds several months later.

Ms Nash wants to see the ex-paratroopers put before the courts.

She added: “I want them tried and, if found guilty, I’ll settle for whatever punishment a judge gives them, whether that’s two years or whatever. I am not interested in punishment, I am interested in the law taking its course for innocent victims.

“I was not surprised by the court ruling. It is very evident that the MoD and British Government are going to fight this tooth and nail all the way.

“We have never been on a level playing field but I love my brother very much and it has given me a passion for justice, not just for him, but for all innocent victims.”

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) is examining whether criminal offences may have been committed by soldiers who used lethal force.

However, after the detention of an ex-paratrooper in Co Antrim, seven retired soldiers launched their judicial review action at the High Court in London.

Mickey McKinney, whose brother William was among those killed, was also not surprised by the judgment.

He said: “I am not shocked. It was more or less expected that the judge was going to give that type of judgment.

“We have been here before during the inquiry.

“One argument I believe they put forward was they feared for their safety if they came to Derry. But I say the Queen and Prince Charles have come to Derry and the police stepped up to the mark to protect them and, to my knowledge, there were no instances in which their safety was put at risk.

“We have been here before. It is frustrating and I am angry but time is a major factor in this case. We are all getting older and it is important that we get things moving.

“They would probably get the same interview here (Northern Ireland) as in England, so a decision has been made, so let’s get moving on.”

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein has said the court’s decision does little to instil confidence in the justice system.

Raymond McCartney MLA said: “It has been established that people shot and killed on Bloody Sunday were murdered and PSNI have a statutory duty to investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice.

“The decision by the High Court in Britain this morning to stop suspects being brought to the north for questioning is the latest in a long line of impediments put in the way of this investigation.

“The decision doesn’t inspire confidence in the justice system and the PSNI need to be free to investigate these murders in the same way as they would with every other killing.”

In a brief statement, a senior PSNI detective said the police investigation would continue.

Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy, from the PSNI’s legacy investigation branch, said: “We acknowledge today’s judgment on these complex issues and we will study it in detail.

“The investigation into the events of Bloody Sunday continues and we will factor the findings into our investigative strategy moving forward.”

Ulster Unionist MP Tom Elliott has welcomed the court ruling.

He said: “Many people will feel that it is punitive and disproportionate to pursue individual members of the Parachute Regiment in relation to events more than 40 years ago, given that we live in a time when there are literally hundreds of unsolved murders committed by terrorist groups.”