Tuesday 22 October 2019

Donegal man charged with Hyde Park bombing makes no bail application

Dead horses lie covered in the aftermath of the car bomb blast near Hyde Park
Dead horses lie covered in the aftermath of the car bomb blast near Hyde Park

Shane Hickey in London

A DONEGAL man charged with the murders of four soldiers over 30 years ago in one of the most notorious IRA bombings of the Troubles has been remanded in custody.

John Anthony Downey (61) appeared via videolink at the Old Bailey in London yesterday in the case surrounding the 1982 bombing of Hyde Park.

Downey is charged with the murders of four soldiers who were killed along with seven horses when a nail bomb exploded as they rode from their barracks to Buckingham Palace for the changing of the guard.

Roy John Bright, Dennis Richard Anthony Daly, Simon Andrew Tipper and Geoffrey Vernon Young, all of the Household Cavalry, were killed.  Downey is charged with their murders as well as causing an explosion likely to endanger life.

No bail application was made in the Central Criminal Court yesterday morning and he was remanded to a preliminary hearing on June 5.

Downey, with an address at Ards, Creeslough in Donegal, was arrested last Sunday in Gatwick airport and charged on Wednesday.

The Hyde Park bomb injured a number of civilians and police officers in addition to killing the four cavalrymen. 

Two hours later, another bomb exploded in Regent’s Park, killing seven Royal Green Jackets bandsmen.  The charges against Downey are not connected to that bombing.

The explosions came just over a year after the death of Bobby Sands and other republican hunger strikers.

Another man, Gilbert ‘Danny’ McNamee was jailed for 25 years in 1987 after being found guilty of building the bomb used in the Hyde Park blast.

He was released from prison under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement and later saw his conviction overturned by the Court of Appeal on the basis that it was unsafe.

Under the Good Friday Agreement, anyone convicted of a terrorist offence which took place before April 15, 1998 can ask to be transferred to a prison in Northern Ireland and then apply to the Sentence Review Commissioners to be released after serving two years in custody.

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