Witch hunt against former soldiers continues, says military veterans group

Paul Young of the Northern Ireland Veterans Movement was speaking following the conviction of a former soldier for manslaughter.

Witch hunt against former soldiers continues, says military veterans group

A military veteran has backed a government Bill to end court cases around Northern Ireland’s troubled past as a former soldier was convicted for the manslaughter of a man 34 years ago.

David Holden was found guilty of the manslaughter of Aidan McAnespie close to an army checkpoint in Aughnacloy, Co Tyrone in 1988.

Speaking outside Belfast Crown Court, Paul Young, national spokesman for the Northern Ireland Veterans Movement, said he was saddened by the verdict.

Paul Young, national spokesman for the Northern Ireland Veterans Movement, reacts outside Belfast Crown Court (Rebecca Black/PA)

“I understand that the family are going to feel completely different to us veterans, and they will have their time to say what they say.

“But for us the witch hunt continues.”

Veterans demonstrated outside court in Belfast during Holden’s trial.

David Holden court case – Belfast
Veterans and Supporters United put up a banner outside Laganside Courts in Belfast (Liam McBurney/PA)

It would also prohibit future civil cases and inquests related to Troubles crimes.

It has been almost universally opposed by parties across the political divide as well as victims’ groups.

David Holden court case – Belfast
David Holden (left) arrives at Laganside Courts in Belfast (Liam McBurney/PA)

“The terrorists have effectively got an amnesty … with letters of comfort, royal pardons,” he said.

“This witch hunt continues but that’s why we’re hopeful that the Bill that is going through Parliament will get passed into law next year.”

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