Aidan McAnespie death: Decision not to prosecute soldier to be reviewed

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THE decision not to prosecute a soldier in the notorious British army killing of Aidan McAnespie is to be re-examined as part of a review of the case.

The 23-year-old was shot dead at Aughnacloy on 21 February 1988.

Manslaughter charges brought against a soldier were dropped in 1990.

The decision to review the case was taken after it was referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions Barra McGrory by Northern Ireland’s Attorney General John Larkin who had been considering a request from the McAnespie family for a new inquest.

Mr McAnespie’s brother, Sean, said the family welcomed the latest decision.

“We knew the original decision was wrong,” he said.

He said the family had received new evidence.

In 2009, the British government expressed “deep regret” at Mr McAnespie’s death.

Mr McAnespie was hit by one of three bullets fired from an Army machinegun as he walked to a match at Aghaloo GAA club.

The soldier who fired the shot, Guardsman David Holden, said he opened fire accidentally when moving the gun with his wet hands.

However a report by the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) later dismissed that as “the least likely version” of what happened.

Guardsman Holden was charged with manslaughter but this was later withdrawn by the DPP.

He was fined for negligence and given a medical discharge from the Army.

Before his death, Mr McAnespie had claimed he had been constantly harassed by security force members.