Northern Ireland

Bloody Sunday: Ex-paratroopers win legal bid against transfer to Northern Ireland

Bloody Sunday
Image caption Thirteen people were killed on Bloody Sunday in January 1972 and another died months later

Ex-soldiers who face questioning over Bloody Sunday have won their High Court battle against being transferred to Northern Ireland for police interview.

Thirteen people were shot dead in Londonderry on 30 January 1972, and a 14th victim died later, after troops opened fire on a civil rights march.

Last month, seven former paratroopers asked the court to stop them being arrested and taken to Northern Ireland.

Police said they would factor in the ruling as they continue to investigate.

Bloody Sunday was one of the most controversial days in Northern Ireland's history.

The fatal shootings were the subject of a 12-year public inquiry led by Lord Saville.

The Saville Report, published in 2010, unequivocally blamed the army for the civilian deaths and exonerated those who were killed.

Prime Minister David Cameron accepted the findings of the report and made a public apology to the victims.

The Saville Report also found that some of those killed or injured were clearly fleeing or going to help the injured and dying.

'Would co-operate'

The former Parachute Regiment members launched their judicial review action at the High Court in London against the chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

An earlier hearing was told that former paratroopers had no issue with being interviewed and would co-operate and that the court challenge revolved around where they would be interviewed.

A lawyer for the men said the issue at the heart of their application was that the men should not be arrested and interviewed in Northern Ireland.

The former soldiers' legal action was lodged after one of their colleagues was arrested in County Antrim and interviewed at a police station in Belfast, before being released on bail the following day.

Image caption Kate Nash lost her brother William on Bloody Sunday

A sister of one of the Bloody Sunday victims told the BBC that she was "not surprised" that the former soldiers had won their case.

Kate Nash lost her brother William in the Derry shootings and has campaigned for those responsible to be prosecuted for murder.

"We almost expected this. The Bloody Sunday Inquiry was moved from here to London too. We expect a trial, if it ever happens, to be in London too," Ms Nash said.

"It's another move in a line of long moves to delay us getting soldiers to court."

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Thousands of people gathered in Derry in 2010 to watch Prime Minister David Cameron apologise for the Army's actions on Bloody Sunday

In a statement after Thursday's ruling, Det Supt Jason Murphy, from the PSNI's Legacy Investigation Branch, said: "We acknowledge today's judgment on these complex issues and we will study it in detail.

"The investigation into the events of Bloody Sunday continues and we will factor the findings into our investigative strategy moving forward."

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