RIP Dennis Hutchings

I am truly saddened by the death of Dennis Hutchings, an ex-soldier who has passed away while on trial over a fatal shooting during Northern Ireland’s Troubles.

Mr Hutchings, 80, denied attempting to murder and cause grievous bodily harm to John Pat Cunningham.

Mr Hutchings’ trial was adjourned for three weeks due to illness and the court heard on Monday that he had tested positive for Covid-19.

The non-jury trial had been sitting at Belfast Crown Court for three days a week to allow Mr Hutchings, who had been suffering from kidney disease, to receive dialysis treatment.

He also suffered from heart failure and fluid on the lung. He died in the Mater Hospital in Belfast on Monday afternoon.

My Hutching’s death is tragically sad. His trial should never have taken place. He was an 80-year-old veteran, in ill-health on dialysis and there was a lack of compelling new evidence.

I was in Westminster Abbey last week for the Royal British legion Centenary Service and sat near to the memorial stone to Nelson Mandela.
The inscription around the centre of the stone reads – Forgiveness Reconciliation.
This is what Northern Ireland’s political parties need to be concentrating on – not scoring old points against sick veterans. Enough is enough.

Let’s have a Hutchings Forgiveness and Reconciliation Agreement – and end these pointless trials.

Hilary Meredith