Belfast Telegraph

Hyde Park bomb accused is given strict bail terms

By Lauren Turner

A man charged with the murder of four soldiers in the 1982 Hyde Park IRA bomb blast has been granted conditional bail at the Old Bailey.

John Downey (61), from Co Donegal, was arrested at Gatwick Airport in May.

He is accused of being responsible for a car bomb left in South Carriage Drive which killed the soldiers, injured other members of the Royal Household Cavalry and killed seven horses as they travelled from their barracks to Buckingham Palace.

Downey is charged with murdering Roy Bright, Dennis Daly, Simon Tipper and Geoffrey Young, and with intending to cause an explosion likely to endanger life.

He is due to stand trial at the central London court next year.

Judge Mr Justice Sweeney told Downey there were a number of conditions to him being granted bail. The sum of £15,000 is to be deposited as security and a total of £55,000 by way of sureties, the judge ordered.

Downey must reside at an address given to the court and will be fitted with an electronic GPS tag.

He will be subject to a daily curfew of 7pm to 7am, the court heard.

His passport remains surrendered and in addition he is not allowed to apply for, or possess, international travel documents.

The judge told Downey he is not allowed to enter any airport, private airfield, seaport, harbour or railway station with international destinations.

He is to report daily to a police station and must not contact any prosecution witnesses.

Grey-haired Downey is also to undergo a medical examination as one of the conditions.

Wearing a green striped shirt and khaki trousers, Downey spoke briefly to tell the judge he understood the conditions of his bail.

A provisional trial date has been set for January 14 next year. Downey is due to appear at the Old Bailey next in September.

BACKGROUND

Four Household Cavalry soldiers from the Blues & Royals were killed in the IRA's Hyde Park bomb as they rode through the park to the changing of the guard. Less than two hours later a second explosion in a Regent's Park bandstand killed seven Royal Green Jackets bandsmen.

In 1987, Gilbert 'Danny' McNamee was convicted of making the Hyde Park bomb and jailed for 25 years. He was freed after 12 under the Good Friday Agreement. His conviction was overturned in 1998.

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