A former British soldier is to be prosecuted for the murder of a teenage boy who was shot dead in Northern Ireland in 1972.
The veteran, identified as ???Soldier B???, will face the charge of murdering 15-year-old Daniel Hegarty in the Creggan area of Derry, prosecutors have announced.
He will also be charged with wounding with intent in the case of the teenager???s cousin, Christopher Hegarty, then aged 17, who was shot and injured in the incident.
The shootings occurred on 31 July 1972, during Operation Motorman, when thousands of troops were deployed into Derry and Belfast to break into so-called no-go areas ??? republican districts that the security forces could not previously enter.
The Hegarty family, who have been campaigning for decades for the soldier to be prosecuted for the killing, last year won the right to seek his prosecution after the high court quashed a Public Prosecution Service (PPS) decision not to bring criminal charges.
Members of the family were informed of the decision to launch the prosecution at a private meeting on Monday with Stephen Herron, the director of public prosecutions for Northern Ireland.
Herron said in a statement he had conducted a review of the case based on all available evidence and had given particular consideration to Soldier B???s ill health, after seeing an updated medical report.
The review included material obtained in the course of the initial investigation and by a later one carried out by the historical enquiries team, a police unit set up to investigate unsolved murders during Northern Ireland???s Troubles. It also drew on material generated by inquest proceedings and a number of expert forensic reports, including one provided after the court ruling in 2018.
???I have concluded that the evidence which can be presented at court is sufficient to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction and that the evidential test for prosecution is met,??? Herron said.
Welcoming the decision, the Hegarty family said they had ???waited long enough for this day of justice for Daniel???, adding: ???We wish Soldier B no ill will. We have not and do not seek revenge or retribution. We just want the criminal trial to begin.???
Daniel???s sister, Philomena, died recently and their mother and father are also deceased.
???We offer our support to other families seeking justice,??? a family statement said. ???Stick with it. Difficult as it is, engage with your solicitor and follow the legal route in a patient and dignified way in the memory of the loved one you seek justice for.???
The British government apologised in 2007 to the Hegarty family for previously describing Daniel as a terrorist.
A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: ???We note today???s decision taken by the Northern Ireland Public Prosecution Service, and we will offer full legal and pastoral support to the individual affected.???