Bloody Sunday: ‘Soldier F’ not in court for first hearing

Father Edward Daly and others try to get medical aid for one of those shot by the Parachute Regiment on Bloody Sunday. 'Stanley Matchett
Father Edward Daly and others try to get medical aid for one of those shot by the Parachute Regiment on Bloody Sunday. 'Stanley Matchett

A former soldier charged with the murder of two people in Londonderry will not be in court for the first day of the case, it has been reported.

The ex-member of the Parachute Regiment, known by the cipher ‘Soldier F’, faces a number of charges in connection with a shooting incident in Londonderry in 1972 – which has become known as Bloody Sunday.

Thirteen people were killed and 15 others wounded when troops opened fire during a Civil Rights march through the Bogside area of city.

Soldier F is accused of killing James Wray and William McKinney, as well as four counts of attempted murder.

Yesterday, it emerged that the military veteran, aged in his late 60s, will not appear at the courthouse in Londonderry next week for the first hearing.

Instead, he will be represented by his legal team.

Northern Ireland’s Public Prosecution Service (PPS) announced in March their intention to bring charges against Soldier F.

The relatives of the Bloody Sunday victims received letters this week informing them of the development.

The Derry Journal newspaper reported that in the letter, families were told the case will not be proceeding as a committal hearing on September 18 and, as such, the accused will not be attending in person.

The hearing is planned to be brief and concerned with the scheduling of how the case will proceed.

A 12-year inquiry conducted by Lord Saville concluded in that all of those killed on Bloody Sunday were innocent and posed no threat.

The inquiry was established in 1998 and concluded in 2010. It was the longest-running inquiry in UK legal history and cost in the region of £200 million.