Witness X denies IRA gun role

A special session of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry sitting in London to hear the evidence of an anonymous witness has ended.

It wanted 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 the day.

Witness X rejected suggestions from Special Branch that he was an IRA gunman on Bloody Sunday.

He was giving evidence via a videolink from a secret location on Thursday.

He told the tribunal he was not in the IRA on the day but refused to say whether he joined the organisation after Bloody Sunday.

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 Derry.

They did not see Witness X, but only heard his voice.

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

Medical reasons

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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