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Northern Ireland veteran ‘refusing medical treatment to have his day in court’

Dennis Hutchings, a 77-year-old former member of the Life Guards regiment, is accused in relation to the fatal shooting of a man in 1974.

A Northern Ireland veteran charged with attempted murder has reportedly turned down medical treatment so that he can appear in court.

Dennis Hutchings, a 77-year-old former member of the Life Guards regiment, is accused in relation to the fatal shooting of a man with learning difficulties in 1974.

The Daily Express reported that he is refusing treatment for kidney disease for fear it would get his case dismissed on medical grounds.

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Dennis Hutchings in September 2017 when a bid to halt the prosecution of the former British solider was rejected (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Mr Hutchings told the newspaper: “I will fight them to the death. This is not about me any more. It’s about all the others behind me.

“As long as I can keep fighting it, it will hopefully end up with somebody making a commonsense decision and drawing a line under it all.”

He added: “I want to prove my innocence and show the nonsense behind these legacy cases. Somebody has got to stand up and fight this lot.”

Mr Hutchings, from Cawsand in Cornwall, is due to stand trial in Belfast charged with attempted murder and attempted grievous bodily harm with intent. He denies the charges.

John Pat Cunningham, 27, was shot in the back in Co Armagh as he ran away from an Army patrol. His family argued that he ran across a field because he feared men in uniform.

Mr Hutchings told the Express: “I have thought about going to one of those clinics in Switzerland. I have chronic kidney disease and an aneurysm which is growing. If that bursts I am dead anyway.

“Last week I was diagnosed with the early stages of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and I have problems with a valve in my heart which they cannot fix.”

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