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Ex-soldier facing charges over 1988 checkpoint shooting in Northern Ireland

3:19 pm, 19th June 2018

Aidan McAnespie, 23, was on his way to a a local Gaelic Athletic Association club when he was shot in the back by David Jonathan Holden in Aughnacloy, County Tyrone, during the Troubles.

Holden, who was 18 at the time, always said the shooting was an accident, claiming his hands were wet and that his finger had slipped on the trigger of his machine gun.

The Grenadier Guardsman was initially charged with manslaughter but this was later dropped.

Northern Ireland’s attorney general John Larkin asked the PPS to re-examine the circumstances of the case following a request by the family for a fresh inquest..

Northern Ireland’s Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has now announced its intention to prosecute Holden, now 48, for gross negligence manslaughter.

Mr McAnespie’s family say he had been harassed by soldiers at the checkpoint on previous occasions.

A PPS spokeswoman said: “Following careful consideration of all the evidence currently available in the case, and having received advice from senior counsel, it has been decided to prosecute a former soldier for the offence of gross negligence manslaughter.

“That evidence includes further expert evidence in relation to the circumstances in which the general purpose machine gun was discharged, thereby resulting in the ricochet shot which killed Mr McAnespie.”

It is understood Holden was informed of the prosecution decision by email.