The brother of Kevin McElhinney who was killed in the Bloody Sunday shootings said he was delighted after his family name was finally cleared.
After a 38-year wait, Cahil McElhinney, from Erdington, Birmingham, was thrilled to read the report from the Saville Inquiry published yesterday, which found the actions of British soldiers was “both unjustified and unjustifiable”.
A total of 14 unarmed civilians, seven of them teenagers, died when soldiers from 1st Battalion, the Parachute Regiment opened fire during clashes after a banned march was stopped from entering Derry, Northern Ireland on January 30, 1972. Fourteen others were wounded.
Yesterday, Prime Minister David Cameron apologised for their actions and said that the casualties were down to the soldiers “losing their self control”.
“We are absolutely delighted with the findings and finally after 38 years Kevin’s name has been cleared,” Mr McElhinney said.
“It’s a brilliant result for all of the families who lost loved ones on that tragic day. Kevin was crawling away from the soldiers when he was shot and everyone in our family knew he was innocent.”
Mr Cameron said the report found none of those killed by British soldiers were armed and no warning was given by the soldiers.
He also said that the tribunal found some soldiers had knowingly put forward false accounts.
“The soldiers made up their own versions which we knew was not true,” added 59-year-old Mr McElhinney, who flew over to Derry with his three sisters to hear the findings of the inquiry.
“Kevin’s name was always slandered and his reputation was assassinated which spilled over onto the rest of the family.
“People thought that he was part of the IRA, which therefore meant that I must have been part of the IRA as well.
“Well that wasn’t the case and now Kevin’s name has been cleared, mine has been too.”
Emotions ran high as thousands gathered at the Guildhall in Londonderry to hear the findings from one of the most controversial days in Northern Ireland’s history.
One man who couldn’t be there was Kevin and Cahil’s father - Laurence - the only surviving parent who was recovering from a heart attack in a nearby hospital.
“I went straight to the hospital to tell my dad about the result and he just smiled,” Mr McElhinney added.
“He’s not very well but I’m so glad he was still here to hear the outcome of the report. He always knew that his son was innocent, but now the rest of the world does too.”