Hyde Park bomb suspect John Downey set to appear in court to face charges over murder of two soldiers in 1972 after losing extradition appeal
- John Downey handed himself in to police in the Republic of Ireland on Friday
- His trial for the IRA’s Hyde Park bombing collapsed in controversy five years ago
- Wanted by prosecutors in Northern Ireland over murder of two soldiers in 1972
John Downey (pictured) is wanted by prosecutors in Northern Ireland over the murders of two Ulster Defence Regiment soldiers in 1972
A man facing prosecution for the murder of two soldiers in Northern Ireland is to appear in court today.
John Downey, who was wanted over the murders of two Ulster Defence Regiment soldiers in 1972, was extradited to the UK after being arrested in the Republic of Ireland.
He handed himself in on Friday after he lost an appeal to challenge the extradition in July this year.
Irish police released a statement on Friday evening, which said: ‘An Garda Siochana arrested a male in his sixties earlier today 11 October 2019.
‘This male has been extradited to Northern Ireland in accordance with an EAW (European Arrest Warrant) issued by the PSNI.’
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said it had arrested a 67-year-old following his extradition and he is expected to appear at Omagh Magistrates’ Court on Saturday morning.
Downey stood trial in 2013 over the Hyde Park bombing in 1982 but his trial later collapsed in controversy
The blast killed four Royal Household Cavalrymen but it was revealed Downey had received a written assurance from government that he was not actively wanted by the authorities
In a statement, the force added: ‘Detectives from PSNI arrested the 67-year-old man on suspicion of the murder of two Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) soldiers in 1972 and on suspicion of aiding and abetting an explosion.
‘Lance Corporal Alfred Johnston – a father of four – and Private James Eames – a father of three – died when a device exploded in a car they were checking on the Irvinestown Road, Cherrymount, Enniskillen, in 1972.
‘The PSNI investigation into these murders remains active.’
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.
The soldiers died in a car bomb attack in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, in August 1972.
The flag-draped coffin carrying Lt Anthony Daly, the Blues and Royals officer, who was killed in the Hyde Park bombing
In 2013, Downey was charged with murdering four Royal Household Cavalrymen in a bomb attack in London’s Hyde Park in 1982.
He was tried at the Old Bailey in 2014 but the case dramatically collapsed after it was revealed he had received a written assurance from former prime minister Tony Blair’s government that he was not actively wanted by the authorities.
The letter was allegedly issued under the terms of the controversial On The Runs (OTRs) scheme.
Downey had a letter that was allegedly issued under the terms of the controversial On The Runs scheme. Pictured: Police forensic officers working in 1982 on the remains of the IRA car which was used to house the bomb
Workmen cleaned up the scene of the devastating car bomb that exploded in the popular spot in central London
A police photographer at the scene of the car bomb in which four soldiers died