One British soldier facing charges for Bloody Sunday shootings that killed 14

One British soldier facing charges for Bloody Sunday shootings that killed 14

Family members of those killed on Bloody Sunday said it was "vindication of our decades-long campaign to clear the names of our loved ones".

Sixteen other former soldiers and two suspected ex-members of the Official IRA, all of whom were also investigated as part of a major police murder probe, will not face prosecution, the Northern Ireland's Public Prosecution Service said.

The former soldier, identified only as "soldier F" of the Parachute Regiment's 1st battalion, will be charged for the murders of James Wray and William McKinney, and for the attempted murders of Joseph Friel, Michael Quinn, Joe McMahon and Patrick O'Donnell.

"In respect of the other 18 suspects, including 16 former soldiers and two alleged Official IRA members, it has been concluded that the available evidence is insufficient to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction".

Ciaran Shiels, the solicitor for several of the victims' families, said: "We are disappointed that not all of those responsible are to face trial".

It relates to events on January 30 of that year when British troops opened fire on an unauthorised march in Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

Sixteen other soldiers under investigation will not face prosecution in the shootings, which took place at the height of the unrest in Northern Ireland known as the Troubles.

Following the inquiry's conclusion in 2010, then prime minister David Cameron said the killings were "unjustified and unjustifiable".

A fourteenth man died months later, but it was found his death was not the results of injuries he sustained on Bloody Sunday.

Families of those killed on Bloody Sunday march through the Bogside in Londonderry ahead of the announcement on prosecutions. Six of them were 17 years old.

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Chief prosecutor Stephen Herron said there was a very strict test for prosecutions.

"This does not mean that because they haven't been prosecuted that they are not guilty".

The UK's Defence Secretary said the individual affected by the ruling will be offered full legal support.

"We have walked the long journey since our fathers and brothers were brutally slaughtered on the streets of Derry", the families said in a statement. English judge Mark Saville, who conducted the investigation, gave the ex-paratroopers broad protections from criminal charges and anonymity, citing the risk that they could be targeted with retaliation by IRA dissidents.

"I wish to clearly state that where a decision has been reached not to prosecute, this is 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", he said.

"The Government will urgently reform the system for dealing with legacy issues".

He added: "The Bloody Sunday families are not finished yet".

The letter said a dedicated team has been set up looking at ways to provide appropriate legal protection to serving and former members of the armed forces "where they now face repeated investigations and potential prosecution following events that happened many years ago".

More than 660 witness statements were taken and investigators gathered photos as well as video and audio evidence.

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