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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 May 2007, 08:06 GMT 09:06 UK
Bloody Sunday victims 'innocent'
Sir Mike Jackson
Sir Mike Jackson served in Northern Ireland for seven years
The former head of the British Army has said he believes innocent people were shot on Bloody Sunday.

General Sir Mike Jackson made the comments in an interview with BBC Northern Ireland's Spotlight programme.

He is among former soldiers who gave their views to mark the end of the Army's role in supporting the police in Northern Ireland.

Sir Mike, who served in NI for seven years, was a captain with the parachute regiment on the day.

He said people must wait for the outcome of the Saville Inquiry before drawing any conclusions.

The tribunal investigated the deaths of 14 civilians shot by soldiers during a civil rights march in Londonderry on 30 January 1972.

It was established in 1998 by Prime Minister Tony Blair after a campaign by families of those killed and injured.

Its findings will not be published until at least the end of next year.

"I have no doubt that innocent people were shot," Sir Mike said.

"We have had two formal judicial inquiries, one of which is yet to report.

"There has been many journalistic examinations of what happened.

"(The) Saville Inquiry has been somewhat lengthy, but my goodness it has been thorough, and we will see what it has to say."

Soldiers in Derry on Bloody Sunday
Soldiers shot 14 people dead in Derry on Bloody Sunday

Liam Wray, whose brother Jim was one of the 14 civilians killed on Bloody Sunday, said he welcomed the general's admission.

"I think it's significant that the retired top soldier in the British Army has come to the point in time where he is accepting that innocent people were shot on Bloody Sunday," he said.

"It is regrettable that he didn't give that evidence to the Widgery Inquiry in 1972."




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
An extract of the interview



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