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Police find body of man in his 20s in Serpentine

Police searching for man who went missing in the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park have recovered a body.

Police tape around the boating lake today Credit: ITN

At 16:43, police were called to a person in the water in the Serpentine **in Hyde Park. At approximately 11:50 today, officers from the Met's Marine Policing Unit recovered the body from the lake.

A police officer at the scene Credit: ITN

Officers believe they know the identity of the man, who is in his 20s, but formal identification is yet to take place.

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Hyde Park bomb suspect cancels celebration

A party to mark the release of the Hyde Park bomb suspect has been cancelled.

John Downey, a Sinn Fein member accused of planting the 1982 explosive, said he has called off the gathering in a village pub in north Donegal over concerns it was being turned into a media circus

The 62-year-old former oyster farmer, who denied any involvement in the bombing, said the party had been planned as a simple family get-together, friends and neighbours who supported him after his arrest:

He said: "Some elements of the media are portraying the event planned for tonight as triumphalist and insulting to bereaved families. That was never what it was about."

John Downey arrives at court last week Credit: ITN C3

His trial for the IRA attack spectacularly collapsed in London during the week.

A judge ruled he could not stand trial as he'd been given assurances by the PSNI he wasn't wanted for questioning or prosecution in the UK despite the Met police holding a warrant for his arrest.

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500 expected to attend John Downey homecoming

Up to 500 people are expected to attend a homecoming party for former Hyde Park bomb suspect John Downey at a Donegal restaurant on Saturday.

John Downey pictured outside the Old Bailey earlier this month. Credit: ITN

Senior Sinn Fein politicians including Gerry Kelly are expected to join Downey's friends, family at the event in the village of Termon to celebrate his return after being imprisoned for the last nine months while awaiting trial in England.

Read: PM announces judge-led inquiry into NI secret letters

Jim Allister, leader of the hardline Traditional Unionist Voice party branded the event a "ghoulish celebration" while Kenny Donaldson, who represents 11,000 terrorism victims in Northern Ireland, said: "The victims are going to feel totally and absolutely disgusted."

Read: Bombing suspect will not face trial after police error

However, Seamus O'Domhnaill, a Fianna Fail councillor said Mr Downey was an "unassuming" man who should never have been arrested.

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'There was never a guarantee of immunity for anyone'

David Cameron said that in letters sent to so-called on-the-run republicans (OTRs) "There was never any amnesty or guarantee of immunity for anyone, and there isn't now."

David Cameron, pictured today outside Downing Street Credit: PA

Repeating his view at a Downing Street press conference that the John Downey case involved a "dreadful mistake made by the PSNI", he went on: "It is right that we take swift action but let us also remember that Northern Ireland has made great strides forward as a result of the peace process.

"It is vital that we deal properly with the events of the past but make sure this never undermines our determination to build a shared and prosperous future for the next generation so that we never again return to the horrors of the past," he added.

The judge appointed to investigate the operation of a Government scheme to deal with OTRS will be given "full access to government files and officials" and will report by the end May, Mr Cameron said, with the findings being published.

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PM: It is right to get to the bottom of what happened

The Prime Minister said he accepted calls for a "full, independent examination" of a Government scheme to deal with on-the-run republicans, after Democratic Unionist (DUP) First Minister Peter Robinson threatened to resign.

I agree with the First Minister of Northern Ireland that, after the terrible error in the (John) Downey case, it is right to get to the bottom of what happened.

The case has already been referred to the Police Ombudsman but, as the First Minister has said, we should have a full, independent examination of the whole operation of this scheme.

So I can announce today that we will appoint an independent judge to produce a full public account of the operation of this administrative scheme to determine whether any other letters were sent in error.

– Prime Minister David Cameron

Read: PM appoints independent judge to review IRA letters

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Clegg: Govt 'urgently' looking into judicial inquiry call

Nick Clegg said the Government was "urgently" looking into Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson's call for a judicial inquiry into secret letters sent to more than 180 IRA suspects.

However, the Deputy Prime Minister warned against allowing the case of Hyde Park bombing suspect John Downey to escalate into a "full-blown political crisis".

Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg.
Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg. Credit: Peter Macdiarmid/PA Wire

Mr Clegg told Sky News: "It is a very serious issue ... We are doing a very quick review of all the other letters in existence. We are urgently considering his view that there should be a full inquiry.

"I certainly appreciate how serious this is, how this provokes very strong emotions, dismay, outrage amongst the victims' relatives and families. We do want to make sure that we do everything to get to the bottom of exactly what did and didn't happen."

Read: First Minister Robinson requests NI Assembly recall over secret letters

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Govt 'not likely to change policy' after NI case collapse

by - Political Editor

The government will conduct an audit of the letters who they went to and so on.

I don't think that they're going to rescind any of them and I don't think substantially they're in a mood to change the policy.

They're a little bit surprised that Peter Robinson didn't know about this part of the process.

They certainly think that people in the DUP did though, they're not saying that he should have known.

Clearly they have to take him at his word that he didn't.

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson. Credit: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

They do think he's proably serious about resigning so they accept that there may be a political crisis.

Although I think that there is also a feeling here that perhaps having an election at this point and resigning at this point and causing an election in Northern Ireland wouldn't be the worst thing for the DUP, although they're also being very careful not to accuse him of cynicism.

I think it's very important to understand the distinctions here because it is a bit confusing. Paramilitary prisoners under the process served a maximum of two years and were out.

There were those who were suspected of crimes who are still potentially to be tried.

But there was this group in limbo who were on the run who were allowed to ask the police if they were suspected, if they weren't they were supposed to be giving those letters.

It's around then that this conspiracy is really focused.

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NI First Minister: 'We are in a crisis'

The collapse of the 1982 Hyde Park bombing case has sparked a crisis in the judicial system according to Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson

Mr Robinson said: "We're not on the brink of a crisis, we are in a crisis. This is a crisis. How could you have anything more than the setting aside of the proper judicial processes, where justice is not going to be done for at least 187 people?

"It is a crisis of confidence that the people of Northern Ireland will have on the policing and judicial processes in Northern Ireland and they are right to be angry."

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Peter Robinson: Government 'kept us in the dark'

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson has threatened to resign over the collapse of the case over the 1982 Hyde Park bombing and saying his administration have been deceived by Westminster.

Mr Robinson told UTV News he was "not prepared to remain as First Minister of an administration that kept us in the dark, that is being deceived by government, both past and present."

Read more: NI First Minister threatens to quit over case collapse

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