Dennis Hutchings dies with Covid-19

Dennis Hutchings, a former British soldier who was on trial for fatally shooting an Irish civilian in the back, has died aged 80.

Hutchings, who shot unarmed John Pat Cunningham, a disabled 27 year old with the mental age of a boy of 6, and a fear of those in uniform, as he ran terrified away from his patrol in County Tyrone in 1974.

Mr Hutchings’ trial was adjourned on Friday after he took ill and the court heard on Monday that he had tested positive for Covid-19.

Democratic Unionist Party leader, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, said he “should never have been brought to trial again, not least because of his health.”

This comes after Conservative Plymouth MP Johnny Mercer had been campaigning for veterans not to face justice for crimes committed against Irish people, because of some inalienable right for Britain to be an imperial force in Ireland.

The true tragedy in this is that Hutchings has lived a long life to the age of 80, and it’s the effects of Covid-19 that have taken his life, never having seen the inside of a prison cell, where John Pat Cunningham wasn’t allowed such a privilege. And now the Cunningham family may die never seeing justice.

Tom Flanaganis a member of the YCL’s Stirlingshire branch

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