Ex-soldier charged over 1974 fatal shooting of John Cunningham in Benburb

John Pat Cunningham
John Pat Cunningham

A 73-year-old former soldier has been charged in connection with the death of a man with learning difficulties in Northern Ireland more than 40 years ago.

John Cunningham, 27, was shot by the Army in a field in Benburb, Co Armagh, in June 1974.

The suspect has been charged with attempted murder and is expected to appear at Omagh Magistrates Court in Co Tyrone on Saturday.

He was arrested in England on Tuesday and was taken to Northern Ireland for questioning by detectives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s legacy investigations branch.

The case was reopened by the PSNI and a murder investigation started following a re-examination of the available evidence.

Mr Cunningham, who had the mental age of a child between six and 10, had a fear of men in uniform and was running away from an Army patrol when he was killed.

The Government apologised for his death in 2013.