Statement on behalf of the family of John Pat Cunningham following the arrest of a 73-year-old man in England
PFC | 21 April 2015
"A spokesperson for the PFC has confirmed that the PSNI was in contact earlier this morning to advise the family of murdered Armagh man, John Pat Cunningham, that a man had been arrested in England and brought back to NI for questioning in connection with his death.
John Pat, a vulnerable 23-year-old adult, was shot in the back in a field outside Benburb, Co Tyrone, by soldiers of the Life Guards Regiment, on June 15 1974.
"Following a highly critical HET report, the PSNI “Legacy Investigation Branch” was instructed by the PPS to begin a new investigation. This did not and does not have the support of the Cunningham family.
"Whilst family members have cautiously welcomed the arrest, they have asked the PFC to state categorically that they will only have confidence in an investigative process that is completely independent of the PSNI.
"Cunningham family members said in October 2013 that they wish to see all investigations into British Army killings, including that of John Pat, being investigated by an independent body.
"Recently the family expressed support for the creation of the Historical Investigations Unit, as proposed under the Stormont House Agreement. That position has not changed. The family has no further comment to make at this time but will observe events with interest.
(Note- on Saturday April 25 Hutchings was charged with the attempted murder of John Pat and released on bail. Loyalist protesters gathered outside Antrim PSNI while he was being questioned to protest his arrest. In Britain a number of right wing groups have also been active online in support of the former soldier.)