File with PPS after soldier quizzed in connection with William McGreanery shooting

A British soldier has been interviewed under caution in connection with the fatal shooting of William McGreanery in 1971.

William McGreanery was shot dead on September 15, 1971.
William McGreanery was shot dead on September 15, 1971.

A file has been sent to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) to consider whether or not charges should be brought for the killing of the 41-year-old, the ‘Journal’ can reveal.

William was shot dead in the early hours of September 15, 1971.

The respected shop assistant was killed by a round fired from a British Army sanger overlooking the junctions of Eastway, Lonemoor Road and Westland Street. He was unarmed.

William’s nephew Billy spoke to the ‘Journal’ this week as his family marked his 51st anniversary yesterday.

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Billy disclosed that last year a soldier was interviewed under caution by the PSNI’s Legacy Investigation Branch (LIB) and that a file was sent to the PPS for review in June.

The family has today decided to disclose this information because they fear the NI Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill which proposes a statue of limitations for all Troubles-related killings may jeopardise their fight for justice.

Billy hopes a decision to prosecute will be forthcoming but says it is now in the hands of the PPS. However, he and his family are worried about the British government’s ‘amnesty’ bill.

“They thought that with the passage of time people would give up and soldiers would die but after a period of time they are seeing people are now actually getting to court and things are coming out that they never wanted to come out and be revealed. So their answer is to close it down,” he said.

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An NIO spokesperson said: “The current system for addressing the legacy of the past is delivering neither justice nor information to the vast majority of families, and continues to leave society in Northern Ireland hamstrung by its past.

“The Government’s Legacy Bill seeks to deliver a significantly different and improved approach to addressing the legacy of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, focused on providing more answers to far more families than is currently the case, delivering on our commitments to those who served in Northern Ireland, and helping society to look forward.

“The Government acknowledges that the Bill’s provisions contain difficult compromises that are challenging for many people, reflecting the unique context which exists in Northern Ireland in line with other measures taken as part of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement to both secure peace and move towards reconciliation.

“The legislation will not halt live prosecution proceedings. Cases where a prosecutorial decision has been made by a prosecutor before commencement of the Bill will proceed to conclusion.”