Bloody Sunday: Police say ex-Paras to be questioned next month

Soldiers taking cover behind their sandbagged armoured cars while dispersing demonstrators with CS gas during protests in Derry on Bloody Sunday.
Soldiers taking cover behind their sandbagged armoured cars while dispersing demonstrators with CS gas during protests in Derry on Bloody Sunday.
  • A High Court ruling said ex-soldier’s did not have to come to Northern Ireland
  • ’Lance Corporal J’ was arrested last November
  • PSNI say interviews will resume next month
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Police interviews of ex-Parachute Regiment soldiers suspected of killings on Bloody Sunday are set to recommence next month.

Relatives of those shot dead on January 30, 1972 have received a letter from the PSNI informing them of the next step in the process. The news comes as preparations are well underway to commemorate the 44th anniversary of the shootings this weekend.

The process of interviewing the soldiers stalled at the end of last year when seven of those wanted for questioning lodged objections at the High Court in London. A judicial review then determined that the soldiers would voluntarily present themselves at police stations in England and would not have to to travel to Northern Ireland. Their objections came after the soldier known as ‘Lance Corporal J’ was detained in Antrim last November and quizzed at a Belfast police station in regard to his part in the events of Bloody Sunday.

Now relatives have received information from the PSNI Family Liason Officer stating: “Following the Court’s decision I have been in conversation with the legal representatives of the soldiers to arrange dates for interviews to commence in GB (Great Britain). The former soldiers to be interviewed are represented by a number of different firms. Given the number of interviews to be held and the location of same in GB it is likely they will extend over a number of months to complete.

“As the potential actions of more than one soldier may be linked to a particular death or injury it will be the case that no final decision can be made on the culpability of a person to be interviewed subject to all other matters being considered.”

The letter also states the PSNI have liased with the ex-soldier’s legal representatives in order to get the interviews carried out as soon as possible and states that relatives will be told when they have taken place. It is also stated that process is expected to begin next month.

Meanwhile, PSNI Chief Constable, George Hamilton has said he is unsure his officers will be able to deliver justice to victims of the Troubles. He claimed the PSNI’s current infrastructure is inadequate to deal with the sheer weight odf material under examination.

He added that as witnesses pass on and exhibits go missing, the prospects of justice will be diminished. “I’m not sure we can deliver it,” he said.