Man wanted over murder of two soldiers in N Ireland extradited to UK

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, which said: “An Garda Siochana arrested a male in his sixties earlier today 11 October 2019.

“This male has been extradited to Northern Ireland in accordance with an EAW (European Arrest Warrant) issued by the PSNI.”

The 67-year-old will now face trial in the UK.

Downey 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, 32, and Private 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 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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