Richard Kemp, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan who was a colonel in the Royal Anglian Regiment whose servicemen were involved on the day of the Bloody Sunday shootings said it was “disgraceful” that the troops faced arrest and potential prosecution.
A source close to the police who has seen government files on the investigation surrounding the Bloody Sunday shootings told the Sunday Times (£) that interviews under police caution were "expected imminently". The spokesman added:
This is the beginning. It is the first time the soldiers will have been interviewed formally by police as part of a murder investigation. It is possible that some of the soldiers will be prosecuted.
For the investigation to be as comprehensive and effective as possible, police will be asking for public support in the form of witnesses who gave evidence to the Saville inquiry now making statements to detectives. This is because police are precluded from using Saville testimony in a criminal investigation.
Up to 20 retired British soldiers face arrest for murder over murder, attempted murder of criminal injury over the Bloody Sunday shootings, according to the Sunday Times (£).
The move comes three years after the £200m, 12-year inquiry by Lord Saville into the shootings produced its report.
Saville found that all those shot by paratroopers during a Catholic civil rights march in the nationalist Bogside area of Londonderry in January 1972 were unarmed, and that the killings were both “unjustified and unjustifiable”.
The judge concluded the army had lost control of the situation, that the soldiers had fired first and some of them had then lied to cover up their culpability.
Up to 20 retired British soldiers face being arrested and questioned by police for murder, attempted murder or criminal injury over the Bloody Sunday shootings more than 40 years ago, according to the Sunday Times (£).
The Ministry of Defence has started hiring lawyers who will represent the soldiers, most in their sixties and seventies, when they are questioned under criminal caution about their roles in the shootings.
Some of the soldiers who opened fire on marchers, killing 14, may face prosecution and a trial that will reopen wounds from one of the most notorious incidents in the history of the Troubles.
A solicitor for one of the families said the offer of £50,000 compensation to the families of those killed by British paratroopers during a civil rights march in Derry, in 1972, said the offer was derisory and an insult to those killed.
Kate Nash, whose brother William was killed and father Alex injured, said:
My brother cannot be replaced and all the money in the world won't bring him back.
DUP MP Gregory Campbell said the dedication of 30 senior officers to another investigation into Bloody Sunday could run up a bill close to £8 million. He said the murder investigation showed a clear "hierarchy of victims."
It is clear from this announcement that there is a hierarchy of victims.
Little wonder that some victims feel the death of their loved one was less worthy than that of the people on Bloody Sunday.
Tory MP Patrick Mercer said he did not think the murder inquiry into Bloody Sunday was necessary, and that he "struggled to see what it would achieve."
Mr Mercer, who served in the Army during the so-called Troubles in Northern Ireland, said he did not think a murder probe would deliver justice for the victims, as the majority of the troops who were involved in the atrocity are untraceable, extremely old, or dead.