Dennis Hutchings should have seen out his last days in peace says Carla Lockhart

Those behind bringing Dennis Hutchings to court must answer for their actions, a DUP MP has said.

Monday, 18th October 2021, 10:28 pm
Updated Monday, 18th October 2021, 11:28 pm

Carla Lockhart said on news of Mr Hutchings’ death: “My deepest sympathy is with the Hutchings family, Dennis’ friends and those he served alongside so bravely. This is a huge personal loss to them, and they are in my thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.

“Dennis should have been at home with his family to see out his remaining days in peace, surrounded by those who loved him and cared for him throughout his illness. Instead the relentless pursuit against him led him to a court room in Belfast, for a trumped up charge for which their was no new compelling evidence. Those behind this must answer for their actions.”

The passing of Mr Hutchings was a sad end to the torrid pursuit of an old soldier, said Jim Allister QC.

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DUP MP Carla Lockhart with army veteran Dennis Hutchings and Conservative MP Johnny Mercer pictured outside a Belfast court earlier this month for his trial. Picture By: Arthur Allison/ Pacemaker Press

The TUV leader said: “The needless dragging of an 80 year old soldier, Dennis Hutchings, through the courts has had a very sad end with the passing of Mr Hutchings this evening.

“The strain on this man was cruel, with him requiring regular dialysis, while being brought to Belfast to face a trial of dubious provenance.”

Mr Allister, who is an MLA for North Antrim, added: “My thoughts and prayers tonight are with his family and friends who may understandably feel that what he was put through contributed to his decline.”

Mr Hutchings, 80, denied attempting to murder John Pat Cunningham, 27, as he ran from an Army patrol near Benburb, County Tyrone, in 1974.

Dennis Hutchings seen at Belfast Crown Court earlier this month. He has died age 80. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

The non-jury trial has been sitting in Belfast for three days each week to allow Mr Hutchings, a Life Guards veteran, to receive dialysis for kidney disease.

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