John Downey extradited to UK over murder of two soldiers

Alleged IRA bomber ’ost an appeal to challenge his extradition in July this year

John Downey outside  the Old Bailey in London in  February  2014. Photograph:  Oli Scarff/Getty Images

John Downey outside the Old Bailey in London in February 2014. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

 

A Co Donegal man wanted for the murder of two British soldiers has been extradited to the UK after handing himself in to the Garda.

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

Mr Downey handed himself in on Friday, after he lost an appeal to challenge the extradition in July this year.

Gardaí released a statement on Friday evening, which they said a man in his 60s has been arrested. “This male has been extradited to Northern Ireland in accordance with an EAW (European Arrest Warrant) issued by the PSNI.”

The 67-year-old was arrested by the PSNI following his extradition. He is due to appear at Omagh Magistrate’s Court on Saturday morning.

He was arrested at his home in Donegal in October last year under a European Arrest Warrant after authorities in Northern Ireland determined they had sufficient evidence to charge him with the murders of Lance Corporal Alfred Johnston and Private James Eames, who died in a car bomb attack in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh.

In 2013, Mr 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 collapsed after it was revealed he had received a written assurance from former prime minister Tony Blair’s government that he was not actively wanted by the authorities. – PA