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Bloody Sunday Inquiry: a timeline

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 06 June 2010

It has taken 12 years and almost £200m. Channel 4 News looks at the timeline of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry.

Getty, Bloody Sunday sign

30 January 1972: During a disturbance in Londonderry following a civil rights march, shots were fired by the British Army. Thirteen people were killed and another 13 wounded, one of whom subsequently died

31 January 1972: The day after the incident, the then Prime Minister set up a public inquiry under the then Lord Chief Justice, Lord Widgery

April 1972: Lord Widgery’s report concluded that the soldiers had been fired upon before they started shooting; the soldiers acted as they did because they believed their orders justified such behaviour; there was no proof that any of those killed were shot while handling weapons or bombs, but there was strong suspicion that some had been doing so during the afternoon.

January 1998: More than 20 years later, as a result of new evidence being produced, then Prime Minister Tony Blair opened a new inquiry, to be led by Lord Saville. Its aim was to “seek the truth about what happened on Bloody Sunday and to do so fairly, impartially and thoroughly”

April 1998: Lord Saville makes his opening statement in the Guildhall, Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

March 2000: Oral hearings commence

November 2000: The first witness to give oral evidence is heard

December 2001: Hearings moved to London from Londonderry as Court of Appeal rules that military witnesses would otherwise have reasonable fears for their safety. It returns to Londonderry for other hearings

February 2004: The Inquiry finishes hearing the main body of witnesses, with a handful more giving evidence up until January 2005

2005-2010: The members of the Tribunal retired to write their report

March 2010: The findings of the report were due – but they were postponed as a result of the general election

15 June 2010: The findings of the report are due to be published.

Facts and figures

£10m – Prime Minister Tony Blair’s original budget for the inquiry

£200m – amount spent so far on the inquiry

2,500 – statements from witnesses

922 – people called to give oral evidence

33 – bundles of evidence received, comprising 160 volumes, 13 volumes of photographs, 121 audiotapes and 110 videotapes

20-30 million – words of evidence considered by the judges

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