Sunday 19 January 2020

Judge rules Downey was 'active participant' in bombing

Ruling: The UK High Court said John Downey took part in the Hyde Park bombing. Photo: Collins Courts
Ruling: The UK High Court said John Downey took part in the Hyde Park bombing. Photo: Collins Courts

Sian Harrison

Relatives of four British soldiers killed in the Hyde Park bombing said justice has finally prevailed after a UK court ruled Co Donegal man John Downey was part of the 1982 IRA attack.

It was the first stage in the family members' High Court damages against Downey.

Ms Justice Amanda Yip gave her judgment in a civil case brought against Downey by Sarah-Jane Young, whose father Lance Corporal Jeffrey Young was killed in the blast.

She ruled that Downey was an "active participant" in the bombing and was jointly responsible with others for the attack, which left 31 other people injured.

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"This was a deliberate, carefully planned attack on members of the military.

"I have found that the defendant was an active participant in the concerted plan to detonate the bomb, with the intent to kill or at least to cause serious harm to members of the Household Cavalry," she said.

Speaking to reporters outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London after the ruling yesterday, relatives and their supporters said they were pleased with the decision.

L/Cpl Young's widow and Ms Young's mother, Judith Jenkins (58), said: "My emotions are very high.

"We never thought this day would happen... but my two girls now have had some form of justice today for their dad.

"Perhaps that will help them rebuild their lives."

She said hearing Sarah-Jane - who was in nursery at the barracks at the time of the blast and saw wounded soldiers returning from the park - screaming at night as a child was "horrendous".

Referring to the collapsed criminal prosecution of Downey at the Old Bailey in 2014, she said: "Our whole lives were ripped apart."

Mark Tipper (59), whose brother Trooper Simon Tipper was among the four soldiers killed, said: "Since we lost the lads in 1982, it is the first time that we have found justice.

"We were denied it at the Old Bailey, various people have tried to protect this terrorist, but at the end of the day the justice system has backed the families."

Irish Independent

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