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Dublin: 7°C Sunday 7 March 2021

Bikers rally in solidarity with ex-British soldier to be charged with two Bloody Sunday killings

A man, known just as Soldier F, is to be prosecuted for the murder of James Wray and William McKinney.

Bloody Sunday bike protest Motorcyclists taking part in the protest cross Westminster Bridge in London Source: Kirsty O'Connor via PA Images

BIKERS HAVE TODAY rallied in central London in solidarity with a former British soldier accused of two murders in the 1972 Bloody Sunday killings. 

The protesters, many of them veterans, wore leather jackets decorated with military insignia and waved flags – some of them from their former regiments.

A man, known just as Soldier F, is to be prosecuted for the murder of James Wray and William McKinney and for the attempted murders of Joseph Friel, Michael Quinn, Joe Mahon and Patrick O’Donnell.

The decision was announced by the Northern Ireland Public Prosecution Service on 14 March following a review of cases involving 19 individuals. 

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Stephen Herron, said there was “sufficient evidence” to charge Soldier F. 

However, he added that the “available evidence is insufficient to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction” in respect of the other 18 suspects, including 16 former soldiers and two alleged members of the official IRA. 

“In these circumstances the evidential Test for Prosecution is not met,” he said in a statement. 

Bloody Sunday

On 30 January 1972, in what would become known as Bloody Sunday, British soldiers fired into a crowd of unarmed civilians who were taking part in a civil rights march in the bogside in Derry.

In all, 28 people were shot. Thirteen people died while another person succumbed to their injuries a number of months later. The Widgery Tribunal was held immediately afterwards and largely cleared the soldiers and British authorities of blame.

A second investigation, the Saville Inquiry, was set up in 1998; in 2010 the report was published, and found that the killings were both “unjustified” and “unjustifiable”. The Prime Minister at the time David Cameron apologised on behalf of the UK.

The British government has said that it will cover the legal costs of the soldier who faces the serious charges. 

With reporting by Sinead O’Carroll, Leona O’Neill and AFP

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