Derry Londonderry city skyline 120819 CREDIT ALAMY
Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland: Soldier B And Soldier F Prosecutions Halted

The prosecutions of Soldier B and Soldier F over events in Northern Ireland during the Troubles have been halted.

Derry Londonderry city skyline 120819 CREDIT ALAMY

The prosecutions of two former soldiers over three deaths in Northern Ireland have been halted.

Soldier F was being prosecuted for the murder of two men, James Wray and William McKinney, shot during a civil rights demonstration in Londonderry on Bloody Sunday in 1972.

Soldier B was to be prosecuted for the murder of 15-year-old Daniel Hegarty in the city six months later.

The families of the victims were informed of the decisions during meetings on Friday morning, which came after a review of evidence in the cases.

The reviews follow a recent court ruling that caused the collapse of another Troubles murder trial involving two military veterans.

Soldiers A and C, two former paratroopers accused of the murder of an Official IRA leader, were formally acquitted in May after prosecutors offered no further evidence at their trial.

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) said after considering the written judgement following the case of Soldiers A and C, it concluded there was no longer a reasonable prospect of key evidence in proceedings against Soldiers B and F being ruled admissible at their trials, meaning the Test for Prosecution was no longer met.

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Director of Public Prosecutions Stephen Herron said: "I recognise these decisions bring further pain to victims and bereaved families who have relentlessly sought justice for almost 50 years and have faced many setbacks.

"It is clear to see how these devastating events in 1972, in which the families involved lost an innocent loved one, caused an enduring pain which continues to weigh heavily.

"The PPS has a duty to keep prosecution decisions under review and to take into account any change in circumstances as a case proceeds.

"The impact of this court ruling on these two cases was considered extremely carefully by my office with the assistance of advices from Senior Counsel.

"That led to the conclusion that a reasonable prospect of conviction no longer existed in proceedings against both Soldier B and Soldier F.

"In these circumstances, the prosecutions cannot proceed.

"Legacy cases come with many challenges, particularly when they involve events which happened almost five decades ago and were not properly investigated at the time.

"It is particularly relevant in these two cases that contemporaneous accounts were obtained in circumstances that involved a denial of legal safeguards," he added.

Cover image: Alamy.