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Emotions high as widow hopes judgment will finally help families to rebuild lives

Sarah-Jane Young (fourth right), the daughter of Lance Corporal Young, a victim of the Hyde Park bombing, with her mother Judith Jenkins (far right) and Mark Tipper (fifth from left)
Sarah-Jane Young (fourth right), the daughter of Lance Corporal Young, a victim of the Hyde Park bombing, with her mother Judith Jenkins (far right) and Mark Tipper (fifth from left)

By Sian Harrison

The widow of one of the Hyde Park bomb victims recalled how her daughter - who was in nursery at the barracks at the time of the blast and saw wounded soldiers returning from the park - screamed at night as a child.

Family members said justice had finally prevailed after a High Court judge ruled John Downey was part of the 1982 IRA attack.

Speaking to reporters outside the Royal Courts of Justice after yesterday's ruling, relatives and their supporters said they were pleased with the decision.

Mrs Justice Yip gave her judgment in a civil case brought against Downey by Sarah-Jane Young, whose father Lance Corporal Jeffrey Young was killed in the blast 37 years ago.

L/Cpl Young's widow and Ms Young's mother, Judith Jenkins (58), of Gifach Goch, Porth, South Wales, said: "My emotions are very high.

"We never thought this day would happen... but my two girls now have had some form of justice today for their dad.

"Perhaps that will help them rebuild their lives."

She said hearing Sarah-Jane's screaming at night as a child was "horrendous".

Referring to the collapsed criminal prosecution of Downey at the Old Bailey in 2014, she said: "Our whole lives were ripped apart.

"You never forget something, it is always at the back of your mind, you build a wall around it and my wall just came crashing down.

"I wanted to get justice for my two girls and I think I was right for fighting for it."

Ms Jenkins added: "Other people out there who want justice, if they fight hard enough they will get it. You've just got to keep fighting."

Mark Tipper (59), whose brother Trooper Simon Tipper was among the four soldiers killed, said: "Since we lost the lads in 1982, it is the first time that we have found justice.

"We were denied it at the Old Bailey, various people have tried to protect this terrorist, but at the end of the day the justice system has backed the families and here we are today - it is the result we want.

"We now know that John Downey was the Hyde Park bomber, he now has to live with that."

Mr Tipper said that it had been a "hard six years for the families" since the collapse of Downey's trial.

Referring to the new government, he said: "They need to meet us victims because they don't know how we feel. I will say to ministers, please meet victims, ask us how we feel, ask us what you can do to help us."

Simon Utley (55), of Dorset, who was just 18 and attending his first guard duty as a trooper in the Royal Household Cavalry on the day of the bomb, said: "I'm absolutely ecstatic.

"I'm ecstatic that we can now put the name John Downey as responsible for the Hyde Park bombing.

"I think there is a degree of closure that has come to us. We have taken it as far as we can take it, so I'm extremely pleased to hear the judgment today."

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