Bloody Sunday statement 'fabricated'

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The Independent Online

A soldier giving evidence to the Bloody Sunday tribunal said yesterday that he lied to the original 1973 inquiry to protect his colleagues and the Army's reputation.

A soldier giving evidence to the Bloody Sunday tribunal said yesterday that he lied to the original 1973 inquiry to protect his colleagues and the Army's reputation.

The former paratrooper, identified as Soldier 027, says he "fabricated" his statement after an army lawyer expressed concern about his version of events. He told the inquiry, chaired by Lord Saville of Newdigate, sitting at the Methodist Central Hall in Westminster: "I believe in the first statement which I made I used fabrication." Later he described it as "complete fabrication".

Under questioning by Christopher Clarke QC, counsel for the inquiry, Soldier 027 also rejected his original claim that he heard several shots from different calibre weapons coming from Chamberlain Street and Pilot Row in Londonderry. "I believe that report of weapons firing to be untrue," he said.

On Wednesday he gave evidence to the inquiry saying there was "no justification" for the killing of 13 unarmed civilians during the civil rights march on January 30 1972. He also said two of his former colleagues were responsible for up to 10 of the 13 deaths.

His statement to the Widgery tribunal, which originally investigated Bloody Sunday, was crafted in order to prevent "dropping people directly in it", he said.

It excluded names and anything about the manner in which people were shot because he "wished to avoid doing anything that would reflect badly on the Army".

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