Police in Northern Ireland are launching a murder investigation into the infamous Bloody Sunday shootings, which occurred on January 30, 1972, in the Bogside area of Derry, Northern Ireland, and left 14 unarmed Catholic-civil-rights protesters dead at the hands of British soldiers. PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott told the Irish Times, “It’s a lengthy investigation. This has to be done to modern standards of murder investigation which is both resource-intensive and prolonged.” The PSNI states that the major murder inquiry could take up to four years, and will involve as many as 30 police.
The decision comes after the 2010 publication of the Saville Inquiry. Commissioned by Tony Blair in 1998 and chaired by Lord Saville, the Saville Inquiry found that those who died on Bloody Sunday were killed unjustly, as they posed no threat to the armed soldiers. Two of the soldiers, the report claims, fired into the crowd believing (though uncertain) that they had spotted a gunman, while five fired believing that no one in the area posed a threat. Campaigner John Kelly, whose brother Michael was shot and killed during the incident, responded on UTV news saying, “It shouldn’t take much longer to come to the point where these guys should be prosecuted for what they did.”
The Saville Inquiry also found that the soldiers went into the Bogside on an order from Col. Derek Wilford, which should not have been given.