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1 April 1999 Edition

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Bloody Sunday victim shot at close range

New evidence given to the Saville Bloody Sunday Inquiry may prove that one of the victims of the 1972 massacre, James Wray, was shot in the back at close range.

Preliminary forensic tests performed on the clothing worn by Wray when he was killed seem to indicate that he was shot while he lay on the ground. If this is proven to be the case and Wray was prone while shot from behind, then it could be the first finding by an official British government inquiry that a Bloody Sunday victim was killed unlawfully. This in turn could lead to other families handing over evidence which could be examined using the new forensic techniques.

These techniques enable scientists to determine more accurately the position a person was in when they were shot. The tests are being undertaken by a team of scientists from Switzerland, Canada, America and Britain. Their task is to re-examine all available forensic evidence, including clothing worn by the victims and photographs of the bodies.

Commenting on the findings, James Wray's brother, Liam, said: ``Our family has always known what happened but it will confirm to the wider world, which has been fed lies and propaganda by the British government for 27 years, that Jim was an innocent man murdered while lying defenceless.''

Eyewitness Seosamh Mahon, who was lying on the ground wounded when he saw Wray killed, explained in a 1972 interview how he saw a British Para fire into Wray's back. He is himself preparing a submission to the Saville inquiry, and said: ``I know what happened, so I won't be surprised if these tests confirm that Jim Wray was lying down. I will be pleased for his family if this inquiry is finally able to say officially that he was murdered.''

The family solicitor, Greg McCartney, speaking about the new evidence, said: ``Such a finding would be highly significant in legal terms. If it is established that he was shot in the back while on the ground, it has to be viewed as a clear case of murder, and we will expect the Director of Public Prosecutions to press charges.''

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