Belfast Telegraph

PSNI wall of silence surrounds McGuinness's part in Bloody Sunday, says DUP's Campbell

Martin McGuinness in 1971
Martin McGuinness in 1971
Members of the Parachute Regiment facing protesters on Bloody Sunday

By Staff Reporter

A DUP MP has questioned the PSNI's reluctance to say if Martin McGuinness was questioned over reports that he was armed with a sub-machine gun on Bloody Sunday.

Gregory Campbell said he had been involved in two years of written correspondence with senior officers without receiving clear answers.

Mr Campbell's comments come after the Public Prosecution Service confirmed it was bringing murder charges against a former paratrooper, Soldier F.

The Army veteran will stand trial for the murders of James Wray and William McKinney. He has also been charged with four attempted murders.

Thirteen people were killed and 15 wounded after members of the Army's Parachute Regiment opened fire on civil rights demonstrators in the Bogside on January 30, 1972. A 14th person died in hospital.

In 2010 a report by Lord Saville concluded that Mr McGuinness was present at the time of the violence and "probably armed with a sub-machine gun" but did not engage in "any activity that provided any of the soldiers with any justification for opening fire".

At the time Mr McGuinness rejected claims he had been armed with a machine gun.

Mr Campbell said he wrote to the PSNI in the wake of the report to determine if soldiers were going to be questioned with a view to possible prosecutions.

He also asked if officers intended to question Mr McGuinness.

Writing in today's Belfast Telegraph, the East Londonderry MP says: "There followed more than two years of exchanges of correspondence between myself, as an elected Member of Parliament, and very senior police officers, who repeatedly declined to indicate whether they intended to question McGuinness about the issue.

"Martin McGuinness at this time was the Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland.

"Given the protracted delay I eventually took the case to the Policing Ombudsman in August 2016. He indicated that they were in communication with the police as to whether there was a case to investigate of a failure by the police to conduct 'a thorough and impartial investigation into all areas of potential criminality arising from the publication of the Saville Inquiry'."

Mr Campbell said that following the "protracted delay", in August 2016 he took the case to the Police Ombudsman's office.

He added: "Despite five months elapsing by the time Martin McGuinness had taken ill and then passed away, no decision was communicated to me about the outcome."

Assistant Chief Constable George Clarke said: "Following the publication of the Saville Inquiry an investigation was commenced into the actions of a range of people involved on Bloody Sunday.

"The lengthy and complex investigation into the events of January 30, 1972 sought to painstakingly identify tangible and admissible evidence, evidence which was subsequently submitted in its entirety to the PPS.

"Whilst there are ongoing legal proceedings it would not be appropriate to comment further at this time."

A Police Ombudsman spokesman said: "In August 2016 we received a complaint that police had failed to provide information about their investigation into the circumstances of Bloody Sunday, and particularly about a specific line of enquiry.

"The Police Ombudsman found that there was no onus on police to provide information about their investigations, and did not uphold the complaint. In October 2016, an additional issue was raised with us. This resulted in the Police Ombudsman considering if there were grounds for calling himself in to examine whether the then ongoing police investigation was looking at all potential criminality arising from the Saville Report.

"Enquiries were undertaken and these indicated that the activities of all those believed involved in the events of January 30, 1972, including military and civilian, were being considered in the police investigation.

"The Police Ombudsman therefore did not find any grounds for initiating a full investigation into the thoroughness and impartiality of the police enquiries."

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