Bloody Sunday vets fear ‘being hung out to dry’

Bloody Sunday paratrooper who faces charges over protestors shot during the Troubles fears that he is being ‘hung out to dry’ as 17 veterans are set to find out if they will be prosecuted

  • Patricia Dowby, 61, helped provide round-the-clock nursing for Prof Hawkings
  • There was an investigation after claims from Hawking’s family about misconduct
  • She has now been found guilty of financial misconduct and dishonesty
  • She also did not provide appropriate care and didn’t have correct qualifications

A former paratrooper facing charges over the Bloody Sunday shootings said he is preparing to be ‘hung out to dry’.

The veteran is one of 17 former soldiers who will learn tomorrow if they are to be prosecuted over the deaths of 14 demonstrators in Londonderry in 1972 following a seven-year investigation.

Last night he said: ‘We believe we will be hung out to dry by those with no understanding, compassion or feel for what happened nearly 50 years ago.’

British troops in Northern Ireland during the Troubles which began in the late 1960s and lasted until 1998 with the signing of the Good Friday Agreement

On January 30, 1972, on what became known as Bloody Sunday, a civil rights protest march against the controversial policy of internment – detention without trial – turned violent.

British soldiers then opened fire on the crowds, killing 13 and wounding another 14. A few months later a 14th man died from his injuries.

The Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland is hosting a briefing event in Londonderry tomorrow morning where it will announce whether charges are being brought against the soldiers involved, who are now in their 60s and 70s. Victims’ families will be informed first in private.

It is expected that former members of 1 Para will be charged with a series of crimes that include murder, attempted murder, wounding and perjury.

The former paratrooper, who does not want to be named for security reasons, said: ‘Charges would be a scandal and a bow to political correctness by politicians and investigators who can never understand what went on. We fully expect there will be charges, otherwise this would have been over.’

Lying on the ground is a man receiving attention, during the shooting incident in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, which became known as Bloody Sunday on January 30, 1972

Lying on the ground is a man receiving attention, during the shooting incident in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, which became known as Bloody Sunday on January 30, 1972

His comments came as a lawyer representing nine of the former paratroopers questioned how the men would get a fair trial and warned that some of them are now so ill and frail they could be killed by the stress.

Philip Barden, of Devonshires solicitors in London, said: ‘The state has known who these people are for 47 years and they decided not to prosecute.

‘Now bringing a prosecution against them when memories have faded, it is very difficult for them to defend themselves.

‘They feel badly let down by a political establishment that sent them to Northern Ireland, told them what to do and gave them the weapons, then walked away.’

So far the former paratroopers have been given anonymity but Mr Barden said he feared their names could be made public in a criminal trial, putting them at risk of revenge attacks.

  • Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson sent out a letter to MPs last night reassuring them that the Ministry of Defence would pick up any legal costs for veterans facing investigations over Bloody Sunday, saying it was right that those who served should receive the ‘fullest possible practical support’.