Lord Saville's inquiry into the events of Bloody Sunday has placed the blame firmly on the 'agressive' paratroopers who shot 13 people dead in the streets of Northern Ireland in 1972.
It took just ten minutes to turn a peaceful civil rights march into a day that would be imprinted on the world forever, and now a staggering 38 years later, the British Government has finally accepted full blame for the events, which left 13 civilians dead.
After 12 years of investigation, Lord Saville cleared the 13 victims of any blame for the killings during the 1972 civil rights march in Derry, Northern Ireland, where police opened fire on the protestors.
None of those shot had posed a threat to safety according to the Saville Report, which blamed the killings entirely on 20 individual paratroopers who ‘lost their self control’ and shot civilians in the back as they tried to flee.
It also claimed that the army had ‘knowingly put forward false accounting in order to justify their firing.
‘What happened on Bloody Sunday strengthened the Provisional IRA, increased nationalist resentment and hostility towards the Army and exacerbated the violent conflict of the years that followed’ concluded the report.
Prime Minister David Cameron said that what happened that day ‘was both unjustified and unjustifiable‘.
‘On behalf of the Government, indeed on behalf of our country, I am deeply sorry,’ he said.
Families of the victims celebrated the findings as a proof of their loved ones innocence.
However Stephen Pollard, a defence lawyer for the soldiers said: ‘Lord Saville’s certainty in identifying individual soldiers flies in the face of most of the evidence he heard.
‘I’m certain he cherry-picked the evidence,’ he said. ‘There is just as much evidence for the opposite conclusion.’
Despite his unqualified apology, Mr Cameron said that Britain would never again attempt anything like this investigation, as the final cost was over £200 million and took over 12 years, making it the longest and most expensive inquiry in British legal history.