Press speculation ‘adding to the stress’ of Bloody Sunday families

editorial image

The brother of a man who was killed on Bloody Sunday has hit out at sections of the British media for ‘placing their sympathy with the murderers instead of the people who lost their loved ones’.

John Kelly, whose 17-years-old brother, Michael, was killed on January 30, 1972, said that coverage of the potential prosecution of soldiers in the British national Press over the weekend is ‘attempting to undermine what the families have been trying to achieve for the last 47 years’.

Thirteen people died when British paratroopers opened fire on civil rights marchers on January 30, 1972.

A 14th person died several months later as a result of injuries they sustained on that day.

The Saville Inquiry concluded in 2010 that all those killed or injured were innocent.

British Prime Minister David Cameron then issued an official apology in the House of Commons, describing the killings as “unjustified and unjustifiable”.

The PSNI launched a murder investigation in 2012 and files were passed to the Public Prosecution Service in 2016.

One of the soldiers who were being considered for prosecution - Soldier N - died earlier this year.

It is understood he was not being investigated in relation to any of the fatalities.

The PPS is to make its decisions public next week, on Thursday, March 14.

A number of speculative articles appeared in some national newspapers last weekend claiming that four former soldiers were expected to be charged with murder in connection with Bloody Sunday.

John Kelly said the coverage is “adding to the stress the families are under at the present time.”

He said: “We have been waiting 47 years for this and what the English Press are trying to do is undermine the campaign and all the hard work of the PPS.”

He claimed that sections of the British media had published incorrect information about the events on Bloody Sunday and he urged them to refer to the Saville report.

Mr Kelly said the PPS decision next week ‘will be the proof. That will determine the next stage of the campaign in relation to prosecution and convictions’.

A spokesperson for the PPS said Press coverage over the weekend was ‘wholly speculative’ and was ‘likely to cause significant and undue distress to the Bloody Sunday families’.

“The PPS is currently making arrangements for the communication of its decisions to all parties on March 14, 2019. We will not be providing any information in relation to prosecutorial matters in the intervening period.”