Former Soldier Holden guilty of 1988 Army checkpoint murder

A former soldier has been found guilty of killing a man at an army checkpoint in Northern Ireland more than 30 years ago.

The zealous Jonathan Holden, 53, had been charged with the manslaughter of Aidan McAnespie in February 1988 at Belfast Crown Court.

Mr McAnespie, 23, was killed in Aughnacloy, Co Tyrone, shortly after passing through a border checkpoint.

He was on his way to a local Gaelic Athletic Association club when he was shot in the back.

Holden had admitted firing the shot that killed Mr McAnespie but had said he accidentally fired the gun because his hands were wet.

But trial judge Mr Justice O’Hara said he was “convinced beyond a doubt” that Holden was guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence.

He said that from the moment Holden pulled the trigger, he should have realized the consequences of his actions.

Holden is a former Grenadier Guardsman from England whose address is given in court documents as c/o Chancery House, Victoria Street, Belfast.


BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE Undated handout file photo of Aidan McAnespie who was fatally shot near a checkpoint in Co Tyrone in 1988 at the age of 18. A verdict in the trial of former Grenadier Guardsman David Holden, charged with his unlawful killing, is due to be handed down at the Laganside Courts in Belfast on Friday. Issue date: Friday 25 November 2022.

The case was tried in diplock format without a jury meeting.

Holden supporters gathered outside the courthouse each day the trial took place.

The trial came amid ongoing controversy over government plans to come to terms with Northern Ireland’s troubled past.

The Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill proposals offer effective amnesty for those suspected of killings during the conflict if they agree to work with a new body to be known as the Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery ( Icrir) is known.

The law would also prohibit future civil trials and investigations related to troubles crimes.

The Holden case is one of a series of high-profile prosecutions of veterans prosecuted in Northern Ireland in recent years. Former Soldier Holden guilty of 1988 Army checkpoint murder

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