Hyde Park bomb victim families win first stage of damages claim against IRA suspect

Relatives of four British soldiers bring claim against John Downey who denies involvement

Sarah-Jane Young (centre), the daughter of Lance Corporal Young, a victim of the Hyde Park bombing, with her mother, Judith Jenkins (right), and Mark Tipper (left) arrives at the High Court in London to hear the ruling in the civil case brought by relatives of the Hyde Park bombing victims against convicted IRA member John Downey. Photograph: Isabel Infantes/PA Wire

Sarah-Jane Young (centre), the daughter of Lance Corporal Young, a victim of the Hyde Park bombing, with her mother, Judith Jenkins (right), and Mark Tipper (left) arrives at the High Court in London to hear the ruling in the civil case brought by relatives of the Hyde Park bombing victims against convicted IRA member John Downey. Photograph: Isabel Infantes/PA Wire

 

Relatives of four British soldiers killed in the Hyde Park bombing have won the first stage of a High Court damages claim against suspect John Downey.

Family members of Royal Household Cavalrymen who died in the July 1982 blast brought the civil action against the convicted IRA member after a criminal case collapsed at the Old Bailey in 2014.

Mrs Justice Yip ruled on Wednesday that Downey was an “active participant” in the bombing and was jointly responsible with others for the attack, which left 31 other people injured.

Announcing her conclusions in London, the judge said: “This was a deliberate, carefully planned attack on members of the military.

Convicted IRA member John Downey pictured in October. His trial collapsed in 2014. Photograph: Nial Carson/PA Wire
Convicted IRA member John Downey pictured in October. His trial collapsed in 2014. Photograph: Nial Carson/PA Wire

“I have found that the defendant was an active participant in the concerted plan to detonate the bomb, with the intent to kill or at least to cause serious harm to members of the Household Cavalry.”

Squadron Quartermaster Corporal Roy Bright (36), Lieutenant Dennis Daly (23), Trooper Simon Tipper (19), and Lance Corporal Jeffrey Young (19), were killed by a car bomb as they rode through the central London park to attend the changing of the guard.

Lawyers acting for Sarah-Jane Young, Mr Young’s daughter, in whose name the action against Downey has been brought, told a hearing in London last week that the families of those killed expect “justice” to be done.

Downey, from Co Donegal, did not play any part in the trial but filed a written defence denying any involvement in the attack.

The car bomb left in South Carriage Drive killed the four soldiers as they paraded from their barracks to Buckingham Palace.

Two were killed instantly while Mr Young and Mr Bright died from their injuries within days.

Seven horses had to be put down and another horse, Sefton, survived terrible injuries.

The case will now progress to a second stage to determine the amount of damages to be awarded. - PA