Ex-British soldiers win appeal against transfer to Ireland for Bloody Sunday questioning

Ex-British soldiers win appeal against transfer to Ireland for Bloody Sunday questioning

A GROUP of former British soldiers who face questioning over Bloody Sunday have won a High Court appeal to prevent them from being extradited to the North of Ireland for police interview.

The seven former paratroopers lodged their bid at the High Court in London last month to avoid the transfer.

Bloody Sunday, one of the most controversial days in Irish history, saw British soldiers open fire on a civilian march in Derry city on January 30, 1972.

In total, 14 people died – 13 on the day, with a fourteenth victim dying from injuries sustained on Bloody Sunday some months later.

A 12-year public inquiry into the deaths resulted in the Saville Report being published in 2010, which laid unequivocal blame with the British soldiers.

British Prime Minister David Cameron made an historic apology to the victims and their families after the report was made public.

In November, a former British paratrooper was arrested in Co. Antrim in connection with Bloody Sunday and questioned by police in Belfast before being released on bail the following day.

The England-based group of soldiers lodged their appeal after this arrest.

An earlier hearing revealed that the paratroopers had no issue with being questioned in relation to Bloody Sunday – but a problem arose as to where they would be interviewed.

Their High Court appeal against Chief Constable of the PSNI George Hamilton was won yesterday, meaning they will not be transferred to the North of Ireland for questioning.

In a statement after the ruling, Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy, from the PSNI's Legacy Investigation Branch, said: “We acknowledge today's judgement on these complex issues and we will study it in detail.

“The investigation into the events of Bloody Sunday continues and we will factor the findings into our investigative strategy moving forward.”