A private prosecution against the chief suspect in the 1982 Hyde Park bombing has taken a step closer as a fund-raising campaign nears its initial £25,000 target.
Four soldiers from the Household Cavalry and seven horses were killed when a nail bomb containing up to 25lbs of high explosive was detonated during a Changing of the Guard procession in London.
In 2014 a court ruled that an official government ‘letter of comfort,’ issued to convicted IRA member John Downey saying that he would not be prosecuted over the Hyde Park bomb, was valid leading some of the victims’ families to seek a private prosecution.
Having been refused legal aid Mark Tipper – the brother of slain soldier Simon Tipper – has now launched an internet campaign which has raised almost £25,000 within 10 days of being posted on the crowdjustice.org site.
The total cost of pursuing a trial to its conclusion is estimated at £640,000.
A government-ordered review of the comfort letter scheme found that it was systematically flawed in operation but not unlawful in principle.
Lady Justice Hallett, who conducted the probe, said a “catastrophic” error had been made in the Downey case, but she insisted the letters of assurance did not amount to amnesties or get-out-of-jail-free cards.
Downey has denied murdering the soldiers and conspiring to cause an explosion.
The bomb killed Trooper Simon Tipper along with Lieutenant Anthony Daly and Lance Corporal Jeffery Young. Squadron Quartermaster Corporal Roy Bright died from his injuries four days later.
Launching the funding campaign, Mr Tipper said: “Downey is living freely in Ireland. Meanwhile, the lives of my family and other victims’ families have been ripped apart by what happened that day.
“The pain and suffering for all of us continues because we have been repeatedly let down by our government. Our lives have been shattered while Downey walks free.
“When terrorists act with impunity, the only way we – and everyone else in the country – can legitimately fight back is in seeking justice. Which is what I am now doing.”
Anyone wishing to donate to the campaign can do so here