Man wanted over murder of two soldiers in Northern Ireland in 1972 hands himself in to police

John Downey extradited to UK after being arrested in Republic of Ireland

Aoife Moore
Saturday 12 October 2019 15:05
Man accused of 1972 murder of soldiers in Northern Ireland denied bail

A man facing prosecution for the murder of two soldiers in Northern Ireland is to appear in court.

John Downey, who was wanted over the murders of two Ulster Defence Regiment soldiers in 1972, was extradited to the UK after being arrested in the Republic of Ireland.

He 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 Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said it had arrested a 67-year-old following his extradition and he was expected to appear at Omagh Magistrates’ Court on Saturday morning.

In a statement, the force added: “Detectives from PSNI arrested the 67-year-old man on suspicion of the murder of two Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) soldiers in 1972 and on suspicion of aiding and abetting an explosion.

“Lance Corporal Alfred Johnston – a father of four – and Private James Eames – a father of three – died when a device exploded in a car they were checking on the Irvinestown Road, Cherrymount, Enniskillen, in 1972.

“The PSNI investigation into these murders remains active.”

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Mr 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 Mr Johnston, 32, and Mr Eames, 33.

The soldiers died in a car bomb attack in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, in August 1972.

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