Man wanted over murder of two soldiers extradited to UK | UK news


A man facing prosecution for the murder of two soldiers has been extradited to the UK after handing himself in to police in the Republic of Ireland.

John Downey, whose trial for the IRA’s Hyde Park bombing collapsed in controversy five years ago, is wanted by prosecutors in Northern Ireland over the murders of two Ulster Defence Regiment soldiers in 1972.

Downey 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, saying: “An Garda Síochána arrested a male in his 60s earlier [on Friday]. This male has been extradited to Northern Ireland.”

The 67-year-old is expected to appear at Omagh magistrates court on Saturday morning.

Downey was arrested at his home in Donegal in October last year under a European arrest warrant after authorities in Northern Ireland determined that they had sufficient evidence to charge him with the murders of L/Cpl Alfred Johnston, 32, and Pte James Eames, 33.

The soldiers died in a car bomb attack in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, in August 1972.


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 that 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.

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