British commander arriving in Derry in mid-70s was told his regiment should not behave like Paras

Sun, 23/12/2012 - 15:15 -- Editor

A former British officer has revealed he was warned to keep his troops under control when they arrived in Derry several years after Bloody Sunday.

"I was told that on no account would my regiment ever behave the way the Parachute Regiment behaved in Londonderry a few years before," said Patrick Mercer.

"With that in mind, I would never support the wrongdoing of members of the security forces against civilians or against each other, it has got to be wrong."

However, Mr. Mercer has opposed the announcement that a team of 15 detectives will head up a murder investigation into the Bloody Sunday shootings.

He states that prosecution of individuals following Bloody Sunday would not be 'welcome' due to the expense and the fact that the former soldiers accused are now elderly.

"While I find these individuals who may or may not be accused are elderly men, some will have died, and should the inquiry find that guilt should be apportioned to individuals, how do we deal with them, especially when terrorists who have been found guilty of violent crimes, possibly murder, have been pardoned in the past?

"I really don't want to pre-judge this but I think those who are involved in what is a misguided inquiry will have a very difficult time ahead of them. And a very expensive time."