Belfast Telegraph

Family of Hyde Park bomb victim write to MET Police over Patrick Ryan admissions

The scene following an IRA car bomb blast in Hyde Park, London, which killed four Royal Household Cavalrymen and seven horses (PA)
The scene following an IRA car bomb blast in Hyde Park, London, which killed four Royal Household Cavalrymen and seven horses (PA)
Andrew Madden

By Andrew Madden

The family of a soldier murdered in the IRA Hyde Park bombing has asked MET Police if it will reopen its investigation into Patrick Ryan's role in the atrocity.

Trooper Simon Tipper of the Blues and Royals was among four soldiers killed when the IRA detonated a 25-pound bomb at a Changing of the Guard ceremony in Hyde Park on July 20, 1982.

Seven of the regiment's horses were also killed in the attack.

In a BBC NI documentary aired on Tuesday night, former priest-turned-IRA-man Patrick Ryan admitted that he sourced the timing device used in many IRA bomb attacks in the 1980s, including Hyde Park.

Simon Tipper
Simon Tipper

State papers released last year revealed Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher accused the Irish Government of inaction in assisting with the extradition of Mr Ryan, in order for him to be questioned by MET Police over his role in the IRA bombing campaign.

In a letter to MET Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, a solicitor acting on behalf of Trooper Simon Tipper's brother, Mark Tipper, enquired if they would now reopen their investigation into Mr Ryan.

"We are aware that Ryan was accused by British authorities of involvement in IRA activity in 1988, and was the subject of a previous criminal investigation and two unsuccessful extradition requests," they wrote.

"Our Client asks for confirmation of the MET's position of the MET's position as to whether it will now reopen its investigation into Ryan's confessed crimes as a precursor to seeking his extradition from Ireland to face prosecution in the UK.

"We note that any failure by the British authorities to do so may be a breach of our Client's Article 6 rights as enshrined by the Human Rights Act 1998."

Article 6 outlines a person's right to a fair trial.

Following Patrick Ryan's statements in the programme, PSNI chief constable Simon Byrne said his staff are "looking into" the claims.

"As you would expect, we have a specific line of inquiry we've now got to examine," he said.

"I've got one of our assistant chiefs looking at that [case] today, to see if there are fresh lines of inquiry that we would then need to review our decisions in the past."

Unionists have called on the Irish Government to apologise for not extraditing Patrick Ryan in 1988 after the priest turned IRA man appeared on a new BBC programme talking about his role in the terrorist organisation (BBC/PA)
Unionists have called on the Irish Government to apologise for not extraditing Patrick Ryan in 1988 after the priest turned IRA man appeared on a new BBC programme talking about his role in the terrorist organisation (BBC/PA)

He added: "If we have to go to a point of seeking extradition, that's a conversation we need to have with [Garda Commissioner Drew Harris] and his colleagues."

A MET Police spokesperson said the Hyde Park case remains open and they are aware of Mr Ryan's comments.

“We are aware of comments featured as part of a recent BBC documentary and these are currently being assessed by the investigation team," they said.

"We are not prepared to discuss further details at this time.”

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