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Northern Ireland: Reaction to delayed sentencing of ex-soldier guilty of Aiden McAnespie manslaughter

In reaction to today’s delay in the sentencing of former Grenadier Guardsman David Holden for the manslaughter of Aidan McAnespie:

Grainne Teggart, Amnesty International UK’s Deputy Director in Northern Ireland, said:

“We and the family will return to the court next week for sentencing in what has been a long fight by the family for justice.

“The significance of this case is clear, both for the McAnespies and particularly at a time when the UK government continues to push through the overwhelmingly opposed Troubles Bill which cruelly betrays the many victims still seeking justice while protecting the perpetrators of manslaughter, murder, torture and other serious crimes.”

Sean McAnespie, brother of Aidan McAnespie said:

“In all that David Holden's legal team had to say, one thing was blatantly missing: he never said sorry. After nearly 35 years, it is clear the only remorse he has is for himself.

“What about the impact on our family and the loss of our brother, son and best friend?”

Ex-soldier guilty of killing Aidan McAnespie

Former British soldier David Holden was found guilty in November 2022 of the manslaughter of Aidan McAnespie, 23 years old, who was killed during the Troubles in Northern Ireland while on his way to a Gaelic football match in 1988. He was due to be sentenced today but the judge has deferred the sentencing to next Thursday, 2 February.  

Holden was found guilty of manslaughter on 25 November 2022, after the judge found he gave a “deliberately false account” of events and is the first soldier to be convicted of an historical offence since the Good Friday Agreement.

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