Belfast Telegraph

Widow hails ‘good day for justice’ after winning court case over inquest funds

Anthony Hughes died in May 1987 when he was caught in the cross-fire between soldiers and the IRA.

A widow whose husband was innocently killed during an SAS ambush said it was a good day for justice after winning a landmark court case.

Brigid Hughes challenged the ongoing failure of Stormont’s Executive Office, the Justice Department and the Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley to introduce adequate funding to prevent further delays to inquests into controversial past killings.

Anthony Hughes died in May 1987 when he was caught in the cross-fire between soldiers and the IRA at Loughgall Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) station in Co Armagh.

Eight IRA men also died.

Mrs Hughes said: “I am very pleased that things have turned out today the way that they have but it has taken a very long time, over 30 years.

“Everybody needs justice, it has been a good day.”

Eight IRA members launched an attack on police barracks in the village of Loughgall.

The British Government needs to sort out the money now for the inquest and I would like it as soon as possible. Brigid Hughes

One drove a digger with a bomb in its bucket into the station while others started firing.

Mr Hughes was a civilian killed during the firefight.

Judge Sir Paul Girvan said former first minister Arlene Foster’s decision not to consider bidding for funding for legacy inquests was flawed and unlawful.

Afterwards, Mrs Hughes said she was speaking on behalf of everybody murdered on the night of her husband’s death.

She added: “The British Government needs to sort out the money now for the inquest and I would like it as soon as possible.

“I am not getting any younger … it would be wonderful if they would just do what is right and what should have been done long ago.”

Her solicitor, Peter Corrigan from KRW Law, said the judgment clearly showed there was systematic delay in holding inquests.

He added: “Arlene Foster the former first minister, the judgment has held, has acted unlawfully in not properly considering the legacy funding and crucially the judge has provided that there is no democratic accountability and there is a vacuum in this jurisdiction that needs to be filled.”

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