Bloody Sunday: Prosecution of two ex-soldiers facing murder charges in connection with Bloody Sunday and The Troubles in Northern Ireland halted

The prosecution of two former soldiers over three deaths during Northern Ireland's troubled past have been halted.

Friday, 2nd July 2021, 1:49 pm
Updated Friday, 2nd July 2021, 2:37 pm
Demonstrators gathered in Parliament Square in London as part of a 'Rolling Thunder' protest in support of Soldier F who was being prosecuted for the murder of two men, James Wray and William McKinney, shot during a civil rights demonstration in Londonderry on Bloody Sunday in 1972. (Photo: Aaron Chown/PA Wire).

Soldier F was being prosecuted for the murder of two men, James Wray and William McKinney, shot during a civil rights demonstration in Londonderry on Bloody Sunday in January 1972.

Soldier B was to be prosecuted for the murder of 15-year-old Daniel Hegarty in the city six months later.

Hegarty was shot twice in the head in Londonderry in July 1972.

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Both former soldiers will now not face trial.

The decision follows a review of the cases by the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) in light of a recent court ruling that caused the collapse of another Troubles murder trial involving two military veterans.

The Crown cases against both Soldier F and Soldier B relied on evidence of a similar nature to that which was ruled inadmissible in April's trial of Soldier A and Soldier C for the 1972 murder of Official IRA leader Joe McCann in Belfast.

The families of the victims in both cases were informed of the PPS decisions in private meetings in a Derry hotel on Friday morning.

13 people were shot dead and 15 people wounded on Bloody Sunday on January 30 1972, when troops from the Parachute Regiment opened fire on civil rights demonstrators in Derry's Bogside.

Soldier F also stands accused of the attempted murders of Patrick O'Donnell, Joseph Friel, Joe Mahon and Michael Quinn. He faced a further supporting charge of the attempted murder of a person or persons unknown on the day.

The case against him had reached the stage of a committal hearing at Derry Magistrates' Court to determine whether there was sufficient evidence to proceed to trial.

In the case of Soldier B, the PPS had announced in 2019 an intention to prosecute him for the murder of Daniel and the wounding with intent of his cousin Christopher Hegarty, then aged 16.

The shooting happened during Operation Motorman - an Army attempt to wrest control of no-go areas of Derry from the grip of the IRA.

Daniel and Christopher, who had gone to watch the military operation, were shot after encountering an Army patrol in the Creggan area in the early hours of July 31, 1972.

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