Police re-open probe into murder of Margaret Thatcher’s confidante Airey Neave who was killed by a car bomb by Irish terrorists 40 years ago
- Neave was shadow Northern Ireland secretary at the time of his death in 1979
- The 63-year-old was killed in a car bomb in the courtyard of the Commons
- Sajid Javid reviewed and reopened the case days shy of the 40th anniversary
Scotland Yard has reopened the probe into the 1979 killing of Margaret Thatcher’s close friend and political wing man Airey Neave two days shy of the 40th anniversary of his death.
Neave was shadow Northern Ireland secretary at the time of his slaughter at the hands of an IRA splinter group, the INLA.
He was killed in a car bomb in the courtyard of the House of Commons while leaving the car park but now Sajid Javid has dragged the case back to the fore after pleas for justice for the former army officer’s family.
The case has reopened after the Public Prosecution Service also found enough evidence to charge a British soldier, known as Soldier F, with a double murder during the Bloody Sunday riots in Derry seven years prior to Neave’s death.
Wreckage of a car hit by an INLA terrorist bomb killing the Tory spokesman on Northern Ireland
The DUP made clear their stance on the Neave case last month, calling the approach to killings carried out during the Troubles ‘unbalanced’ if no one is charged for the 63-year-old’s death – which came during the 1979 election campaign.
However, just today the same party’s Jeffrey Donaldson dubbed the calls for Soldier F to be prosecuted for allegedly killing unarmed civilian protesters, a ‘witch hunt’.
In a letter to Greg hands, Member of Parliament for Chelsea and Fulham – Neave’s son William’s constituency – the Home Secretary said there is ‘new work’ being done, The Telegraph revealed.
Airey Neave was killed in a car bomb in the courtyard of the House of Commons in March 1979
He said: ‘I have reviewed the case and can confirm that extensive searches have been carried out, including by the Metropolitan Police, into the circumstances of the murder.’
The review came about because Javid had asked for it 30 years after it had last been touched, because Mr Hands requested it in honour of the 40th anniversary of the killing on March 30, 1979.
But Javid was keen to stress that it’s resuming did not necessarily mean progress in terms of clarity around the ‘circumstances’ of the murder.
Javid added: ‘I do not want to raise hopes of progress, but following my review of the case new work has been commenced by the police and the investigation is open.
‘Should any potential leads come to light they will be scrutinised by the police to see if those responsible can be brought to justice.’
Wolf Rudiger Hess (left), the son of Nazi politician Rudolf Hess, arrives at the Foreign Office in London with MP Airey Neave to discuss the possibility of his father’s early release from Spandau Prison, 5th January 1970
Mr Javid confirmed in his review of the case that the Irish National Liberation Army, which claimed responsibility for the attack, ‘is likely to have been the perpetrator’.
Mr Hands said he was ‘delighted on behalf of my constituents, the Neave family, to hear that the case has been reopened’ adding that he was grateful for Javid’s ‘personal interest’ in it.
Maragaret Thatcher, speaking just hours after Neave’s death, said: ‘Some devils got him. They must never, never, never be allowed to triumph. They must never prevail.’
The INLA issued a statement regarding the murder in the August 1979 edition of The Starry Plough, the official magazine of the Irish Republican Socialist Party: ‘In March, retired terrorist and supporter of capital punishment, Airey Neave, got a taste of his own medicine when an INLA unit pulled off the operation of the decade and blew him to bits inside the ‘impregnable’ Palace of Westminster.
‘The nauseous Margaret Thatcher snivelled on television that he was an ‘incalculable loss’—and so he was—to the British ruling class.’