Belfast Telegraph

'Soldier F' to appear in Derry court accused of Bloody Sunday murders

James Wray and (right) William McKinney
James Wray and (right) William McKinney

A soldier accused of murdering two people in Londonderry on Bloody Sunday is set to be summonsed to appear at a court in the city in August.

'Soldier F' is expected to be called to Derry Magistrates Court to be charged with murdering two of the victims, William McKinney and James Wray.

He has also been accused of the attempted murder of four other civil rights protesters in Derry, Patrick O'Donnell, Michael Quinn, Joseph Friel and Joseph Mahon.

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has confirmed the plan in a letter to relatives of those allegedly shot by the former paratrooper.

Thirteen people were killed on Bloody Sunday, January 30, 1972, and a 14th victim died of related injuries months later.

It was announced in March that Soldier F would be the only member of the armed forces to face prosecution for his actions that day.

Since the announcement that Soldier F would be prosecuted banners in support have appeared in loyalist areas across Northern Ireland.

Ciaran Shiels of Madden and Finucane Solicitors represents William McKinney's brother Mickey McKinney and said that the PPS had confirmed in writing to Mr McKinney that Soldier F would be summoned to Derry.

Mr Shiels said that additional material outstanding from the PSNI would be provided to the PPS "very soon".

"Upon consideration of this material, the PPS will consider whether to add this to the Committal Papers that are being currently prepared," he said.

Soldiers take cover during Bloody Sunday in Londonderry in 1972 (PA)
Soldiers take cover during Bloody Sunday in Londonderry in 1972 (PA)

"We have requested a timetable in relation to the prosecutions and we had previously made submissions that Soldier F should face criminal proceedings in Derry as it was in this County Court Division where the crimes we say he committed took place.

"We can now confirm the that the Committal Papers for Soldier F's Preliminary Enquiry will be served on him and his lawyers in next month and further that he will be summonsed to appear in Derry District Judges Court a date to be fixed in August 2019."

A PPS spokeswoman said "significant progress" had been made in preparing a summons to Soldier F.

“While this complex process is at an advanced stage, the Public Prosecution Service has had to request some further material from police before the necessary papers can be finalised," she said.

“Based on the estimated time required for this material to be provided, the prosecution team expects to be in a position to issue a summons to the defendant next month.

“It is therefore envisaged at this stage that Soldier F will make his first court appearance on a date in August, at Londonderry Magistrates’ Court.

“In line with our commitment to keep the families informed of all developments, the PPS wrote to those involved last week with this latest timetable.”

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