The brother of a teenager gunned down on Bloody Sunday says a new police investigation into the 1972 massacre could be “the last throw of the dice” for relatives.
John Kelly, whose brother Michael (17) was among those murdered by British paratroopers, is urging witnesses to the killings to give statements to police.
Mr Kelly spoke out after PSNI detectives said there had been a “disappointing” response to a public appeal to assist their new murder probe.
Last month, officers investigating the shootings - in which 13 people were killed - urged more than 1,000 people who had given evidence to the Bloody Sunday Inquiry to contact them to make witness statements.
Two years ago, the PSNI launched a murder probe after detectives and prosecutors reviewed the Saville Inquiry’s main findings that the killings were unjustified and none of the dead posed a threat when they were shot by British soldiers.
As evidence provided to the inquiry cannot be used for criminal prosecutions, detectives need to carry out fresh interviews with people who were there, including the soldiers.
But, on Thursday last, the PSNI conceded the response to their witness appeal had been limited.
Det. Chief Insp Ian Harrison said: “If we are to make progress, we need witness statements.”
This prompted John Kelly to urge witnesses to come forward and “assist the new investigation.”
He said: “I’m asking people to come forward to help the families in their final quest for justice.
“The police are the only ones who can prosecute those responsible for the murders and, if we are to see these guys in the dock, we need witness statements. Without them, there can be no progress.
“This could be the last throw of the dice for us - that’s why I’m asking people to come forward and give their statements to the police.”
John Kelly says anyone who may have issues about engaging with the police should contact one of the Bloody Sunday relatives to discuss their concerns.
“If people aren’t sure, contact us, talk to a family member,” he said.
“I don’t think people should be concerned about talking to the police. At the end of the day, this is about the families - indeed, the people of Derry - getting the justice that they deserve.”
Det Chief Insp Harrison has assured anyone who engages with police that all matters will be treated in confidence and support will be offered to witnesses.
Indeed, local community mental health organisation Cúnamh says it will be offering support to any witnesses providing statements to the new probe.
Police have asked civilians and former soldiers to contact the investigation team on Tel: 028 9025 9593 or by email at Bloody SundayEnquiry@psni.pnn.police.uk