Belfast Telegraph

Bloody Sunday families ‘have been waiting for this day for 47 years’

John Kelly was speaking just days before the Public Prosecution Service is due to announce whether they will prosecute soldiers.

John Kelly, whose brother Michael was killed in Londonderry on Bloody Sunday (Liam McBurney/PA)
John Kelly, whose brother Michael was killed in Londonderry on Bloody Sunday (Liam McBurney/PA)

The families of 13 people killed by soldiers in Londonderry in 1971 are waiting with great expectation to hear whether they will be prosecuted, the brother of one of the victims has said.

John Kelly’s younger brother Michael, 17, was among those shot dead on January 30 1972 following a civil rights march.

Thirteen died on the day, with 15 others shot and injured.

While one of the injured died five months later in hospital, from an inoperable brain tumour, the Saville report did not link his death to the wounds he sustained on Bloody Sunday.

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Michael Kelly was killed on Bloody Sunday (Bloody Sunday Trust/PA)

Mr Kelly said the families have been waiting for this day for 47 years.

“Murder happened on those streets out there, my young brother was only 17, he was a young innocent boy, and a soldier deliberately shot him for no reason whatsoever, just simply because he was there,” he said.

“Our people were innocent, murdered by the First Battalion of the Parachute Regiment, and no matter what age they are (the soldiers), or physical condition they are in, I believe they still have to come before the law and be prosecuted for what they did.”

Mr Kelly was there on the day during the shootings.

He was then 23 and said he had been fighting ever since for his little brother.

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A man receiving attention during the Bloody Sunay shooting in Londonderry (PA Archive)

He said he wants to see the soldier who shot Michael be convicted of murder so he can get on with the rest of his life.

Mr Kelly still remembers every second of that day.

“It was a beautiful crisp winter’s day and everyone was enjoying the march, singing, clapping, cheering. There were mothers pushing babies in prams, young boys, young girls all really enjoying the day until we got to William Street where the march was blocked by the British army,” he said.

“I remember I decided to go into Rossville Street and Free Derry corner where the organisers of the march had decided to take the march away from William Street.

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John Kelly, whose brother Michael was killed on Bloody Sunday, says there is great expectation from the families ahead of the announcement over whether soldiers will be prosecuted. (Liam McBurney/PA Wire)

“That’s when the shooting began.

“I remember taking cover, I was about maybe 40 yards away from Michael and I didn’t know he had been shot.

“Eventually I ended up outside a house in Abbey Park, we were watching people give first aid to a guy named Gerry McKinney who had been shot, and that was the first I knew someone had been shot.

“I got a call from behind me, I looked round and it was my brother-in-law, he was with Michael after he had been shot so I ran to them and helped to carry Michael. We put him in an ambulance and they took him to hospital.

“I remember being in A&E, and see them put Michael on a trolley, the doctor and nurse approached Michael, and them saying to me, ‘I’m sorry, he’s dead’.

“I waited for my father to come across to the hospital, and I still see him walking down the corridor, and we approached him and told him that Michael had been shot, I can still see him sliding down the wall.

“Then we had to go to the mortuary, we walked in to a scene of pure carnage, there were about 9/10 bodies there and we had to go through each body to eventually find Michael.”

Mr Kelly described his brother as having been a special child after surviving a serious virus as a child and falling into a coma for three weeks.

“Even the local priest told my mother to give him up to God, my mother refused to do so, and he recovered but from then she was always very protective of him,” he said.

“He had been training to become a sewing machine mechanic, he was going steady with a girl, and he was looking to the future.

“He was a jovial, happy, easy come, easy go kind of boy, loved the wains in the house and was looking forward to the rest of his life.”

PA

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