Bloody Sunday relative: Don’t jail Soldier F, even if he is found guilty of murder

Kate Nash, whose brother William died on Bloody Sunday, said most victims' families don't want to see Soldier F jailed, whatever the result of his trial
Kate Nash, whose brother William died on Bloody Sunday, said most victims' families don't want to see Soldier F jailed, whatever the result of his trial

Most of the Bloody Sunday families do not want to see Soldier F jailed if he is found guilty of two counts of murder during the fateful protest march in Londonderry in 1972, one of their leading campaigners has said.

Kate Nash was speaking on the 40th anniversary of the Narrow Water IRA bombings near Warrenpoint, which claimed the lives of 16 members of the Parachute Regiment in what some republicans claimed was a revenge attack for the regiment’s role in 14 deaths on Bloody Sunday seven years earlier.

One former Para – Soldier F – is to stand trial in Londonderry for the murder of two people on Bloody Sunday, James Wray and William McKinney.

But Ms Nash, whose 19-year-old brother William was also shot dead, said most Bloody Sunday families do not want to see Soldier F jailed, no matter what the outcome of the trial.

“There is one soldier; if he is found guilty – I mean nobody is looking for – I don’t think anybody wants him jailed or anything like that,” she told the News Letter.

“And that would be my experience of most of the families. That is serious, by the way, I am not just saying that.”

Thirteen people were killed after the Parachute Regiment opened fire on civil rights demonstrators in Londonderry in January 1972, with a 14th victim dying months later.

Seven years later two IRA bombs at Narrow Water near Warrenpoint killed 18 soldiers, including 16 Paras.

In the aftermath of the Narrow Water bombings, graffiti appeared in some republican areas stating: “13 dead and not forgotten. We got 18 and Mountbatten.”

Lord Louis Mountbatten, the Queen’s second cousin, was killed in an IRA bomb attack on his leisure boat in Co Sligo on the same day.

However, Mrs Nash said she did not support any idea of revenge for those killed on Bloody Sunday.

Asked for her thoughts about the 40th anniversary of Narrow Water bombings, she replied: “I think it is very sad that so many people lost their lives, to me, in a conflict that served no purpose.”

She welcomed the achievement of “one man, one vote” in council elections by civil rights campaigners in the 1970s and also affirmed that “housing conditions improved”.

“But none of it was worth it for all the lives that were lost,” she added.

“To me that is just so sad. How many broken hearts, how many broken families ... and no justice out there.”

She clarified that she meant there was no justice for “everybody” in the Troubles.

The outspoken campaigner said she often hears “an awful lot of people” say “what was the point?” in relation to all the lives lost.

“What was the point of all this?” she asked.

Kate believes she was out of the country when the Narrow Water bombings took place and so has no personal memory of them.

And she does not give any support to those who claim that Narrow Water was in revenge for Bloody Sunday.

“Well for starters I don’t agree with revenge – revenge is not a very nice thing. It implies hate and crime, doesn’t it? No, I wouldn’t have felt anything like that to be honest.”

She had not even been aware that republicans had claimed the Narrow Water bombings as revenge for Bloody Sunday until the News Letter highlighted it to her.

“I have never heard that,” she added.