Striving for justice, family members of those murdered by an IRA bomber have resorted to raising cash through a national paper in order to fund a court case against him. Why this was allowed to even go this far is beyond belief. As world leaders insult the British public by acknowledging the death of the terrorist leader Martin McGuinness, families here resort to almost begging the public to help them put his henchmen behind bars for good.
In the ’80s, the IRA, although usually caught dead to rights, always seemed to get off on technicalities when they were taken to court. Because their organization’s funding afforded them top lawyers with extensive experience in terrorism cases and plenty of practice, not enough of these hoods were ever put away. The Hyde Park bombing was one of these cases.
In 1982, in a shockingly cowardly attack, the IRA blew up and killed four soldiers and seven horses. They also left 31 others fighting for their lives. A nail bomb positioned in a parked car—allegedly left by John Downey—exploded in Hyde Park, creating carnage. It was set off remotely as the British soldiers passed by on their way to changing the guard. When it went before the courts three years ago, Downey was dismissed, as it was revealed that he had wrongly been promised immunity from criminal proceedings.
The evidence against him was ridiculously damning. It is unbelievable how he ever walked free. His fingerprints were all over two parking tickets found at the scene and he had paid to access the Morris Marina, which contained the 25-pound explosive device. One of the tickets had been issued to the car in central London just two days before the attack. The second, more shockingly, had been put on the vehicle just hours before the attack at the Royal Garden Hotel, just a mile away in Kensington.
Downey was without doubt connected to the car on the day of the attack. Various photos, provided by several different witnesses to the attack, also identified him. He was finally arrested at Gatwick Airport in May 2013 and was supposed to go before the beak at the Old Bailey six months later. The trial fell to bits when it was shown that he had wrongly received a so-called “comfort letter” sent to on-the-run terror suspects as part of Tony Blair’s Good Friday agreement.
This agreement ensured complete and utterly vile pond life would be let off for murderous acts committed during the decades of trouble in Northern Ireland, an act which—contrary to the British stand on any form of terror as non-negotiable—saw our leaders making deals in front of the whole world. Blair, in an attempt to save face, has admitted it was a “catastrophic error.” This does not excuse the fact that his decisions have helped get murderers off the hook. It’s a pity he never listened to Maggie Thatcher, who said, “We shan’t rest until we bring these men to justice.”
Arrested and brought to book, the man undoubtedly responsible for the Hyde Park bombing has walked free. Mark Tipper, who lost his brother, and Sarahjane Young, whose father was murdered in the same blast when she was four years old, are desperately seeking help from the public after having been refused legal aid in bringing Downey to justice. This is a cruel joke considering U.K. taxpayers have shelled out £195 million pounds to fund the Bloody Sunday appeal, which is purely based on people’s inability to accept the IRA picked on the wrong soldiers and got a damn good slap. The pair needs to raise £650,000 if they are to get proceedings heard in a civil court, where already family of the victims of the Omagh bombing have been successful and claimed 1.6 million pounds from the scum who blew up their relatives. Despite appealing and losing, the terrorists have not paid a penny yet. Still, at least the courts recognized their guilt.
Sarahjane has said that this is about getting the court to acknowledge Downey as the murderer. They have pledged any damages to veterans charities if they win. They have approached the Sun newspaper and publicly appealed for as much help as people can afford. They said that if every reader of the paper could afford to contribute a quid each, it would easily cover the bill. I am also urging people to help, as I believe that too many good men paid the ultimate sacrifice in this conflict, and they’ve since been let down.
The comfort letters aside, the fact that the government is now chasing soldiers who did nothing other than carry out orders is a disgrace. Even though these cases should be considered in a criminal court, it’s clear they will never be. If the families of the victims can take these cases to a civil court judge and get a result, it will be a massive boost to morale for anyone who took the queen’s shilling and served on OP Banner. In a criminal court, a jury must be persuaded “beyond reasonable doubt.” In a civil court, things are decided solely by a judge and on the “balance of probabilities”—easier to achieve results. This would prove a small win, but a win nonetheless.
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Featured image courtesy of the Evening Standard