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Anger as case dropped against British squaddie charged with Bloody Sunday murders

THE families of two men shot dead in Derry on Bloody Sunday vowed to continue their fight for justice today after the case was dropped against a solider charged with their murder.

“Soldier F” was charged with murdering James Wray and William McKinney in Derry in January 1972 alongside five counts of attempted murder.

But the Public Prosecution Service told their relatives that the case would not proceed as there is not a reasonable prospect of securing a conviction.

Lawyer for the families Ciaran Shiels said they would appeal the decision, which he branded “a damning indictment of the British legal system.”

A former soldier charged with murdering a 15-year-old boy in Derry in July 1972 will also not stand trial, his family has been told.

Daniel Hegarty was shot twice in the head close to his home in the Creggan area of the city during what was called Operation Motorman.

Calls for soldiers to be able to act with impunity have been led by Tory MP and former army officer Johnny Mercer.

He claims that former squaddies have had their lives ruined, branding calls for justice and accountability “a witch-hunt.”

Tens of thousands of republicans and loyalists have been jailed, serving sentences totalling an estimated 100,000 years, compared with just four British soldiers going to prison for less than five years each. 

All of those jailed after being found guilty of committing murder while on active service were later allowed to rejoin the British army.

Soldier F was the only individual charged after 13 people were gunned down during a peaceful civil rights march in the north of Ireland.

The quest for justice has been long, with families and the victims smeared as terrorists and a cover-up by the British state.

The Saville inquiry offered immunity from legal action to all those who told the truth about their actions on the day.

However Soldier F was found to have repeatedly lied about his involvement. He fired 13 rounds that day, claiming to have seen bombers and gunmen at various positions in the area. 

He initially denied shooting at the rubble barricade where Michael Kelly was shot. However, ballistics tests proved that the bullet which entered the 17-year-old’s body had in fact been fired from his rifle.

Soldier F changed his story, claiming to have suddenly remembered that he had seen a bomber by the rubble that day.

This, too, turned out to be a lie. It was found that he also shot and killed four people, including Patrick Doherty.

As Mr Doherty lay dying, Barney McGuigan went to his aid waving a white flag. A number of witnesses, including another soldier, claimed that Soldier F got down on one knee and pumped a bullet into Mr McGuigan’s head, killing him instantly.

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