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Friday 18 August 2017

Ex-soldier charged over 1974 death

Undated family handout file photo of John Pat Cunningham who was shot dead in Northern Ireland in 1974. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
Undated family handout file photo of John Pat Cunningham who was shot dead in Northern Ireland in 1974. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

A 73-year-old former soldier has been charged in connection with the death of a man with learning difficulties in Northern Ireland more than 40 years ago.

John Cunningham, 27, was shot by the Army in a field in Benburb, Co Armagh, in June 1974.

The suspect has been charged with attempted murder and is expected to appear at Omagh Magistrates Court in Co Tyrone today.

He was arrested in England on Tuesday and was taken to Northern Ireland for questioning by detectives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland's legacy investigations branch.

The case was reopened by the PSNI and a murder investigation started following a re-examination of the available evidence.

Mr Cunningham, who had the mental age of a child between six and 10, had a fear of men in uniform and was running away from an Army patrol when he was killed.

The Government apologised for his death in 2013.

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