Civil trial of John Downey over IRA Hyde Park bomb begins next month

The civil case against John Downey for his alleged part in the 1982 Hyde Park bomb attack will take place from 11 December to 13 December at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

Monday, 18th November 2019, 5:44 pm
Updated Monday, 18th November 2019, 5:48 pm
John Downey appearing at Omagh Court in October in connection with the double murder of two UDR men in Enniskillen in 1972. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

The proceedings will be open to the public.

In 2014 Mr Downey was due to stand trial over the IRA bombing of Hyde Park, which saw four soldiers and seven horses killed.

However, in court he cited an official ‘On The Run’ letter he received in 2007 which said he was not wanted by police. The judge ruled that Mr Downey, who denied any involvement in the bombing, should not be prosecuted because he was given a guarantee he would not face trial.

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However next month’s trial will see families of the Hyde Park victims suing him in a fresh civil action. They are seeking financial compensation and a finding that he was liable for what happened. However even if they are successful he cannot be jailed as an outcome of this trial.

The written judgement of the Hyde Park case also revealed that police had uncovered evidence linking Mr Downey to the murder of UDR members Alfred Johnston and James Eames in a bomb attack in Enniskillen in 1972.

The PSNI re-opened the investigation, a fresh file was submitted to the Public Prosecution Service and a decision was taken to charge Mr Downey.

He was extradited from the Republic of Ireland and last month was charged in Northern Ireland in connection with the murder of the two UDR men.