Pic: Niall Carson/PA Wire Families of those died march through the Bogside in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, towards the Guildhall ahead of the announcement as to whether 17 former British soldiers and two former members of the Official IRA will be prosecuted in connection with the events of Bloody Sunday in the city in January 1972.
Gavin Williamson confirmed the Ministry of Defence would support "soldier F" and pay the legal costs.
As a member of the Parachute Regiment's 1st battalion, Soldier F said he fired 13 rounds in Londonderry on January 30 1972, as he gave evidence to the Saville Inquiry anonymously in 2003.
A murder investigation by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) followed the £195 million inquiry and files on 18 soldiers were submitted to prosecutors in 2016 and 2017 for consideration.
"This has been the case since the individuals were first regarded as suspects by the Police Service of Northern Ireland and will continue - without time limit or cap on expenditure - until all aspects of the investigation and subsequent legal process are complete". "Our serving and former personnel can not live in constant fear of prosecution".
The letter went on: "The Ministry of Defence has ensured that all veterans under investigation in Bloody Sunday are aware of the support available, either via their legal representatives or directly".
The ex-Parachute Regiment trooper will also be charged with the attempted murders of four others, Northern Ireland's Public Prosecution Service (PPS) announced.
The Northern Ireland Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Michael Agnew, informed victim's families of the decision at a private meeting this morning. But 16 other ex-paratroopers and and two former members of the Official IRA will face no action.
Victim's families said they were disappointed by the decision.
"There has been a level of expectation around the prosecution decisions in light of the findings of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry", he said.
The inquiry did not take evidence from civilian witnesses. "We recognize the deep disappointment felt by many of those we met with today". "However, that does not mean that we do not have compassion for all those who are affected by our decisions".
She said: "I think of my brother every single day".
"Justice matters to anybody", she said.
Relatives sought to right the wrongs of false claims that their loved ones had been armed.
A silent crowd lines both sides of the road as the funeral procession of those who died Bloody Sunday passes, 02-02-1972.
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