A former Para has described as “very noble” the call by one of the Bloody Sunday families for Soldier F not to be jailed should he be found guilty in his forthcoming murder trial.
Soldier F, also a former Paratrooper, is due in court next month charged with the murders of William McKinney, 26, and Jim Wray, 22.
They were among 14 people who died after being shot on Bloody Sunday in Londonderry in 1972.
Kate Nash, whose brother William was also killed on the day, told the News Letter this week that she did not want to see Soldier F jailed if he is convicted of murder.
“That would be my experience of most of the families,” she said, speaking on the 40th anniversary of the IRA’s Narrow Water bombings, which claimed the lives of 16 Paras in 1979.
Former Para Tom Caughey, who was seriously injured in the Warrenpoint bombs, welcomed Mrs Nash’s comments.
“It was very noble of her,” he told the News Letter.
The veteran joined the Paras some years after Bloody Sunday.
He noted that Soldier F would now be around 70-years-old and urged understanding for his regiment.
“They were in a riot situation,” he said of the Paratroopers involved on Bloody Sunday. “So unless you stand in their shoes and take a look at it, nobody knows what they would do.”
However, Michael McKinney, whose brother William was killed on Bloody Sunday, told the Irish News he rejected Mrs Nash’s comments.
“Justice must run its course; if he’s convicted, he should do time. Willie must be treated the same as any other victim; he cannot be a non-person or a non-victim. I know all of my family believe that,” he said.
Mr McKinney described Mrs Nash’s comments as “unhelpful” and said he did not think Mrs Nash would like it if he issued statements about her family members.