Belfast Telegraph

Video: Soldier facing manslaughter charge over 1988 Aidan McAnespie Troubles killing

The 23-year-old was killed at an Army checkpoint in Tyrone

A former British soldier is to be charged with manslaughter by gross negligence over the killing of Aidan McAnespie near a border checkpoint in 1988

The move comes after a case review by the Public Prosecution Service.

Catholic man Mr McAnespie was killed in Aughnacloy, Co Tyrone, in February 1988.

The 23-year-old had been on his way to a local Gaelic Athletic Association club when he was shot by a Grenadier Guardsman.

He was hit by one of three bullets fired from a machine gun.

The 48-year-old guardsman was initially charged with manslaughter but the charge was later dropped in 1990.

Mr McAnespie’s death were the subject of an Historical Enquiries Team (HET) review which reported in 2008. The UK Government expressed "deep regret" about the killing in 2009.

Northern Ireland's Attorney General John Larkin had asked the PPS to re-examine the circumstances of the case following a request by the family for a fresh inquest.

The Public Prosecution Service announced in 2016 it would review a decision not to prosecute the soldier.

The process, it said, considered all of the available evidence including a fresh ballistics report and it has been concluded there is sufficient evidence to prosecute the suspect in connection with the shooting of Mr McAnespie.

The funeral of Aidan McAnespie passes through the checkpoint where he was shot in 1988
The funeral of Aidan McAnespie passes through the checkpoint where he was shot in 1988

A PPS spokeswoman said: “Following careful consideration of all the evidence currently available in this case, and having received advice from Senior Counsel, it has been decided to prosecute a former soldier for the offence of gross negligence manslaughter.

“That evidence includes further expert evidence in relation to the circumstances in which the general purpose machine gun was discharged, thereby resulting in the ricochet shot which killed Mr McAnespie.

“The decision to prosecute was reached after the Test for Prosecution was applied to the available evidence in this case in accordance with the Code for Prosecutors.”

It is understood the ex-soldier was informed of the prosecution decision by email on Tuesday morning. Formal papers will be served on his legal representatives in the coming weeks.

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