IRA Hyde Park bombing suspect John Downey is led from court in handcuffs over another terror attack

The Sun Politics 4 days ago

JOHN Downey, prime suspect in the IRA Hyde Park bombing, is led from court in handcuffs after he was remanded in custody over another terror attack.

John Downey, 67, appeared before magistrates in Omagh, Co Tyrone, yesterday accused of the 1972 murder of volunteer soldiers Alfred Johnston and Private James Eames.

IRA Hyde Park bombing suspect John Downey led away in handcuffs in Omagh, Co Tyrone

They died in a car bomb attack in Enniskillen.

Downey faces a civil action brought by families of the victims of the 1982 Hyde Park atrocity which killed 11 soldiers. He denies any involvement.

The 67-year-old — dressed in a white shirt and blue jumper — appeared in the dock flanked by a police officer, while his family sat in court and gestured to him.

PSNI Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell told the court: “Police object to bail for the defendant on the grounds that he is a flight risk.

“The defendant did not consent to be extradited and appealed to High Court in Dublin.”

Samuel Magee QC, for the prosecution, said Brexit could also pose a challenge in the case if Downey was allowed back to the Republic.

He told the court: “Mr Downey has challenged extradition all the way. In police custody last night we got the defendant’s passport which he brought with him, however he could easily leave and go to the Republic and with all the uncertainty around Brexit, that could frustrate the justice process.”

District Judge Michael Ranaghan said: “The charge couldn’t be more grave. I am conducting a risk assessment here in the circumstances, and I find he is a flight risk, and so I do refuse bail.”


He told Downey he has the right to appeal against that decision.

A large crowd had gathered outside the town centre court house in support of Downey, including Sinn Fein MP for the area Orfhlaith Begley and a number of former and current Sinn Fein representatives including ex-MP Pat Doherty.

After the hearing, Downey was transferred from the court to a waiting police van.

Crowds shouted support for him, before a scuffle erupted between them and police officers after PSNI had attempted to move supporters from the road.

Downey was arrested at his home in Donegal in October last year under a European Arrest Warrant after authorities in Northern Ireland determined they had sufficient evidence to charge him with the murders of Mr Johnston, 32, and Mr Eames, 33.

Downey – who has denies involvement in the Hyde Park attack – stood trial for it in 2014.

He was accused of an explosion that killed four of the troops.

But the trial collapsed in confusion after it emerged he was sent a ‘comfort letter’ promising immunity by Tony Blair’s Labour government.

Downey is accused of the 1972 murder of volunteer soldiers Alfred Johnston and Private James Eames
The 67-year-old appeared in court dressed in a white shirt and blue jumper
Downey was transferred from the court to a waiting police van as crowds shouted support for him

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