Donegal man charged over 1982 IRA Hyde Park bomb

Donegal man charged over 1982 IRA Hyde Park bomb

AN IRISH man in his 60s has been charged with the murder of four soldiers during a 1982 IRA bombing in Hyde Park.

John Anthony Downey, 61, of Co Donegal will appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court this afternoon (May 22).

He has been charged with the murders of Roy John Bright, Dennis Richard Anthony Daly, Simon Andrew Tipper and Geoffrey Vernon Young.

All four were members of the Royal Household Cavalry and were on their way to Buckingham Palace when they were killed.

Mr Downey, who was arrested on Sunday, has also been charged with intending to cause an explosion likely to endanger life.

Eleven people in total died in the two explosions in Hyde Park and Regents Park that day in 1982.

A further 50 people were injured by the bombs, which exploded less than two hours apart.

The bomb that Mr Downey is charged with planting was the first of the two.

In that incident, a nail bomb in a blue Austin car went off as members of the Household Cavalry made their way from their barracks in Knightsbridge to Buckingham Palace.

A second explosion in a Regent's Park bandstand killed seven Royal Green Jackets bandsmen.

Sue Hemming, head of special crime and counter-terrorism at the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "The Metropolitan Police Service has been investigating the explosion near Hyde Park in London which occurred on 20 July 1982.

"We have reviewed the evidence gathered and authorised them to charge John Anthony Downey, 61, of County Donegal, Ireland.

"It is alleged that Downey is responsible for the improvised explosive device contained in a car parked in South Carriage Drive, SW1, London, which resulted in the deaths of four members of the Royal Household Cavalry, Blues and Royals, as they travelled on their daily route from their barracks to Buckingham Palace."

In 1987 Northern Ireland electrician Gilbert "Danny" McNamee was charged with making the Hyde Park bomb and jailed for 25 years.

He served 12 years before being freed under the terms of the Good Friday peace deal.

In 1998 his conviction was quashed at the High Court, after a high-profile campaign by celebrities including Eddie Izzard. But although his conviction was "unsafe" it did not follow he was innocent of the crime, the judges said.