A man has appeared in court charged with the murder of four members of the Household Cavalry in the 1982 IRA bombing in Hyde Park.
John Anthony Downey, 61, of County Donegal, Ireland, is charged with the murders of four Blues and Royal soldiers on 20 July, 1982. He appeared before magistrates in London on Wednesday (22 May). The trial will be held at the Old Bailey.
The men were riding from their barracks in Knightsbridge to Buckingham Palace for the Changing of the Guard when the car bomb was detonated.
Seven of the famous Cavalry black horses died, or had to be euthanased, because of their injuries.
Sue Hemming of the Crown Prosecution Service said: “It is alleged that Downey is responsible for the improvised explosive device contained in a car parked in South Carriage Drive, London SW1, which resulted in the deaths of four members of the Household Cavalry, Blues and Royals, as they travelled on their daily route from their barracks to Buckingham Palace.”
The site of the blast is marked with a memorial and soldiers honour it every time they pass with an ‘eyes left’ or ‘eyes right’ while lowering their swords.
Sefton, the most seriously injured of the horses who survived, recovered from terrible wounds to return to duties with his regiment.
He became a symbol of courage in the face of IRA violence and was made ‘Horse of the Year’. Donations made in his name funded the Sefton Surgical Wing at the Royal Veterinary College.