Category: Archive

More Bloody Sunday rifles are ‘missing’

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Anne Cadwallader

BELFAST – Anger and dismay were expressed at news that two more rifles used by the British Parachute Regiment to kill 14 people on Bloody Sunday have "gone missing," leaving only three of the original weapons intact for forensic testing.

The British Ministry of Defence has again been accused of deliberately trying to frustrate the work of the new inquiry. Defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, said the disposal of the rifles happened despite orders for them not to be moved and said it was a matter of "deep regret."

He has ordered an investigation by ministry of defence police and has invited a representative from the new Bloody Sunday inquiry, opening next month under Lord Saville, to send an observer.

But Gregory McCartney, solicitor for the family of Jim Wray who was one of the 14 who died in the 1972 shootings, said: "This could not have happened accidentally.

"The rifles had to be kept in safe conditions and somebody cannot walk in and take the rifles by accident and destroy them. This can only be regarded as a deliberate attempt by the Ministry of Defence to frustrate the workings of the Saville Inquiry and prevent the truth of Bloody Sunday ever coming out."

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The two weapons were among only five self-loading rifles left which could have been used as evidence by the inquiry. Hoon said 14 had already been destroyed as the part of the programme to take them out of service. Another 10 had been sold to private companies, leaving just five.

Some sources in Derry claim the two rifles were not SLRs but sniper rifles known as "303 Mk 4"s. These are single shot sniper rifles with a scope which, one user said "enables you to focus in real close."

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