Accused IRA Bomber Goes Free Over Immunity 'Blunder'

John Downey was charged in 1982 blast that killed 4
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2014 12:35 PM CST

(Newser) – UK prosecutors think they know who set off the bomb that killed four British soldiers and seven horses in London's Hyde Park in 1982, but a judge today threw out the case against 62-year-old John Downey, reports the BBC. The wrench was that Downey was one of about 190 IRA suspects who get a letter from the British government in 2007 assuring them that they were no longer wanted by the law, reports the Guardian. It was part of the Good Friday peace agreement.

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The Police Service of Northern Ireland now acknowledges that Downey never should have received such a letter because he had an outstanding warrant at the time, reports the Belfast Telegraph. "I wish to apologize to the families of the victims and survivors of the Hyde Park atrocity," says the PSNI's chief constable. "I deeply regret these failings which should not have happened." The families, meanwhile, criticized the "monumental blunder" and said their "torment will be ongoing." (Read more Northern Ireland stories.)

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