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Ex-soldier's questioning over death welcomed by family

By David Young and PA

Published 22/04/2015

The family of a man with learning difficulties who was shot dead by the Army more than 40 years ago have given a "cautious welcome" to the arrest of a retired soldier.

But relatives of John Pat Cunningham insisted they still did not have confidence in the murder investigation being carried out by the PSNI, claiming it is not sufficiently independent.

A 73-year-old former soldier was arrested in England yesterday by detectives from the PSNI's Legacy Investigations Branch, which examines historical cases from the Troubles. He is being taken to Northern Ireland for questioning in Antrim's Serious Crime Suite.

Mr Cunningham was 27, but had the mental age of a child between six and 10.

He had a fear of men in uniform and was running away from an Army patrol when he was shot in a field near Benburb - a village close to the county border of Tyrone and Armagh - in June 1974.

The Government apologised for his death in 2013.

In a statement, the family called for all investigations into Army killings, including that of John Pat, "to be investigated by an independent body".

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