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Ex-soldier, 75, arrested and interrogated 25 times by police investigating fatal shooting in Northern Ireland over 40 years ago

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AN elderly ex-soldier was arrested and interrogated 25 times by police probing a fatal shooting in Northern Ireland more than 40 years ago.

Dennis Hutchings, 75, was held for a total of 84 and a half hours before he was eventually charged with attempted murder.

 Dennis Hutchings was held for a total of 84 and a half hours before he was eventually charged with attempted murder

Pacemaker Press

Dennis Hutchings was held for a total of 84 and a half hours before he was eventually charged with attempted murder

On one day alone he was quizzed ten times over 11 hours.

A hearing today at Belfast crown court will decide whether the former Life Guards soldier faces a jury or judge-only trial.

He was charged with attempted murder in 2015 over the death of John Pat Cunningham, 27, in 1974.

Despite no new evidence, no living witnesses, and the loss of key forensic evidence, Hutchings now faces jail if convicted.

He was one of two soldiers — the other now dead — who shot at Cunningham, mistakenly thinking he was an IRA suspect.

It has not been established who fired the fatal shot in a field in Co Armagh.

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It was later discovered innocent Cunningham had learning difficulties and was scared of people in uniforms.

After two probes Hutchings was told the matter was closed and he would not face charges.

But after files were passed to Northern Ireland’s Legacy Investigations Branch he was arrested at home in Cornwall.

Four British Army personnel arrested over alleged terror plot and 'being members of banned neo-Nazi group National Action'


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