Pain never goes away, says brother of IRA Hyde Park bomb victim

Relatives of some of those killed in the IRA Hyde Park attack 35 years ago during a wreath-laying ceremony  in Hyde Park on Saturday
Relatives of some of those killed in the IRA Hyde Park attack 35 years ago during a wreath-laying ceremony in Hyde Park on Saturday

A man whose brother was killed in the Hyde Park bomb has said that no amount of time which passes seems to dull the pain of his murder.

Mark Tipper, whose sibling Simon was among those to die as a result of the blast, was speaking as former veterans and their supporters gathered to mark the 35th anniversary of the attack in central London.

The case against a former suspect in the blast, John Downey, had collapsed in 2014 after it was revealed that he had been given an on-the-run letter (mistakenly assuring him that he was not a wanted man in the UK).

Four members of the Royal Household Cavalry were killed in the Hyde Park bombing on July 20, 1982, as they made their way from their Kensington barracks to a Changing of the Guard ceremony at Horse Guards Parade when they were blown up by an IRA nail bomb, secreted in a nearby car.

Shortly afterwards, also in central London, the IRA bombed a bandstand, killing seven military musicians.

Around 50 or so people joined in the Hyde Park commemoration late on Saturday morning, meeting at the barracks there and then proceeding to the memorial plaque which was surrounded by a horse-shoe shaped piece of greenery, marking a string of horses which were also slain in the blast.

Afterwards Mr Tipper, 57 and from the Birmingham area, recalled growing up together with his brother on a council estate, and said: “Unless this has happened to someone, they really don’t know how we feel.

“It hurts as much today as it did the day we lost him; time doesn’t heal.”

He said he feels that the on-the-run letters were not mere mistakes, and that – for reasons he cannot be certain of – the government simply does not want to see a case against Mr Downey come to court, whether it be a civil case or a criminal one.

Although ex-Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers has previously said that the state is “no longer standing by” any of the on-the-run letters which were issued, Mr Tipper said he “does not care” what she said, and worries that the letters “will stand” if more are produced in court.

The list of exactly who got the letters is unclear, and Mr Tipper wondered whether senior Sinn Fein figures may be on it.

Mr Downey had denied the murder charges he faced, and although the case against him collapsed, Mr Tipper and others are seeking to privately bring a civil case to court instead of a criminal one, in which a judge would determine responsibility for the blast.

They have been fundraising from the public for the case, and ultimately Mr Tipper said they need an estimated £620,000. To donate visit this page – www.crowdjustice.com/case/hyde-park-justice/