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Saville to say Bloody Sunday killings unlawful: newspaper

The long-awaited report into the Bloody Sunday massacre will conclude that a number of the fatal shootings of civilians by British soldiers were unlawful killings, it has been claimed.

The Guardian newspaper says that Lord Saville's 12-year inquiry into the deaths will conclude with a report published on Tuesday putting severe pressure on the Public Prosecution Service in Northern Ireland to prosecute soldiers.

One unionist MP, who did not wish to be named by the newspaper, described the conclusion of unlawful killings as a “hand-grenade with the pin pulled out that is about to be tossed into the lap of the PPS”.

As already reported in the Belfast Telegraph on Monday, soldiers and officers involved in events on January 30, 1972 could face prosecution and even murder charges as a result of the inquiry.

Lord Trimble, the former leader of the UUP and an architect of the Good Friday agreement, revealed to The Guardian that when Tony Blair agreed to the inquiry in 1998, he warned that any conclusion that departed “one millimetre” from the earlier 1972 Widgery report into the killings would lead to “soldiers in the dock”.

Thirteen unarmed civilians, all male, were shot dead at a civil rights march in the Bogside area of Londonderry in January 1972.

A 14th man died of his wounds several months later.

The killings electrified nationalist protests against British rule in Northern Ireland and Bloody Sunday became a critical moment in the history of the Troubles.

It dramatically boosted the popularity of the Provisional IRA in the province and, according to many observers, acted as a catalyst for much of the violence that followed.

The Government said the newspaper report is "speculation".

A Northern Ireland Office said: "The report will be published in a few days and everyone can read it then.

"The people directly affected by all of this - the families of those killed and injured, and the soldiers - have waited a long time for this report, and speculation of this kind only adds to the stress and anxiety that they must all feel."

The results of Saville's hearing will be released to the public at 3.30pm on Tuesday when Prime Minister David Cameron announces its publication to the House of Commons.

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