Bloody Sunday: PSNI declines to say if it quizzed Martin McGuinness on machine gun

The PSNI says it would be “inappropriate” to say whether it ever questioned Martin McGuinness about the Saville Inquiry finding that he was probably carrying a sub-machine gun around during Bloody Sunday.

Friday, 15th March 2019, 8:00 pm
Updated Saturday, 16th March 2019, 12:11 pm
Martin McGuinness in his younger days with a pistol. The Saville Inquiry found he was probably carrying a Thompson sub machine gun on Bloody Sunday.

Thirteen people died after being shot by soldiers in Londonderry in 1972. On Thursday it was announced that a former British soldier, ‘Soldier F’ will be prosecuted for the murders of James Wray and William McKinney.

The sole prosecution was seen as a “terrible disappointment” by some of the families of those killed, although other Troubles victims said the killings had been elevated above other atrocities.

In 2010 Lord Saville’s inquiry into the events found that Martin McGuinness was “probably” carrying a Thompson sub-machine gun during Bloody Sunday.

The same type of gun was used 72 hours beforehand to kill two RUC officers in the city, leading some to claim Martin McGuinness was involved, and that the IRA intention was to deliberately heighten tensions with the security forces ahead of the ill-fated civil rights march.

However the PSNI has declined to say whether it questioned Mr McGuinness about Saville’s findings, published seven years before the Sinn Fein MLA died in 2017.

Assistant Chief Constable George Clarke told the News Letter: “Following the publication of the Saville Enquiry an investigation was commenced into the actions of a range of people involved on Bloody Sunday.

“The lengthy and complex investigation into the events of 30 January 1972 sought to painstakingly identify tangible and admissible evidence, evidence which was subsequently submitted in its entirety to the PPS.

“Whilst there are ongoing legal proceedings it would not be appropriate to comment further at this time.”

East Londonderry DUP MP Gregory Campbell said it is “very clear” that just as the wider events of January 1972 in Londonderry are “overlooked”, some events of Bloody Sunday appear to be “glossed over”.

“Martin McGuinness’ possible involvement in the deaths of two police officers in Londonderry just three days before the Bloody Sunday march was never properly investigated,” he said.

He noted that the Bloody Sunday families have received a public inquiry, a Prime Ministerial apology and now a prosecution.

“Some foolishly claimed that would bring the matter to a close, despite my warning that it would not.

“Other events across Northern Ireland including Londonderry have had no answers, no inquiry and no apologies and no reasonable prospect of justice either.”

In 2016 Mr Campbell pressed the PSNI to investigate Lord Saville’s findings about Mr McGuinness. However he said they had refused to cooperate and subsequently lodged a complaint with the Police Ombudsman.

However the Ombudsman has told the News Letter that the PSNI were under no obligation to disclose any information to Mr Campbell and it had therefore closed the case. It too declined to say if Mr McGuinness was questioned.