Witness set to deny IRA gun role

The Bloody Sunday Inquiry will sit in special session in London to hear the evidence of an anonymous witness.

The inquiry wants to question him about a 1972 RUC interview note in which he is recorded as saying he was an IRA man who fired a rifle on Bloody Sunday.

Witness X is going to tell the tribunal he knows nothing about the note, that he was not in the IRA and not at the Bogside civil rights march that day.

He will testify via video link and be screened from public view.

The inquiry has been investigating the deaths of 14 civilians shot by soldiers during a civil rights march in Londonderry in January 1972.

The Bloody Sunday families will watch the proceedings on video screens in Londonderry.

But they will not see Witness X, they will only hear his voice.

Witness X has asked for these security measures because his job takes him into loyalist areas of the north west.

Medical reasons

Thursday's hearing is due to start at about 1700 GMT and is not expected to last more than a couple of hours.

It was thought the tribunal had finally ended last November, after seven years and at a cost of about £150m.

Witness X had been due to appear last January, but withdrew citing medical reasons.

The Bloody Sunday inquiry was established in 1998 by Prime Minister Tony Blair after a campaign by families of those killed and injured.

Lord Saville of Newdigate and the Commonwealth judges accompanying him on the inquiry began hearing evidence in March 2000.

The inquiry has heard evidence from leading politicians, including the prime minister at the time, Sir Edward Heath, civilians, policemen, soldiers and IRA members.

Lord Saville's final report and conclusions are not expected to be made public until the summer.

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