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Ex-soldier charged over NI shooting 40 years ago

John Pat Cunningham's nephew, Charlie Agnew, with a MOD apology and a picture of Mr Cunningham. Credit: Paul Faith / PA Archive/PA Images

A 73-year-old former British soldier has appeared in court in Northern Ireland charged in relation to the death of a Catholic man with learning difficulties in 1974.

John Pat Cunningham, a 27-year-old man who had a mental age of between six and 10, was shot three times as he ran away from an army patrol in a field 40 years ago. Relatives said he ran because he had a fear of men in uniform.

Former soldier Dennis Hutchins was charged with attempted murder, the first time anyone has been charged in relation to the incident. He has not yet formally responded to the charge.

The charges follow a decision last month by the Police Service of Northern Ireland's recently established Legacy Investigation Branch to take a fresh look at the evidence surrounding Mr Cunningham's killing.

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Woman due in court over cannabis worth £340,000

The woman is the ninth person charged in relation to a major international drug trafficking operation. Credit: Andrew Milligan / PA Archive/PA Images

A 24-year-old woman will appear in court today charged with importing thousands of pounds worth of cannabis.

The woman, who was arrested in Birmingham on Wednesday, is also charged with conspiracy to supply cannabis, possession with intent to supply and converting criminal property.

She is the ninth person charged in connection with a major international drug trafficking operation after police found £340,000 worth of cannabis at an address in Ballywalter, County Down last month.

She is due to appear before Newtownards Magistrates' court today.

Detective Inspector Andy Dunlop of the Police Service of Northern Ireland said: "There are more arrests to follow. This investigation is complex, but we are vigorously pursuing all lines of inquiry to gather all evidence against those allegedly involved."

Unemployment figures: Regional breakdown

The north-west of England celebrated the biggest fall in the number of people out of work in the three months to February, official figures reveal.

The region saw a fall of 20,000, bringing the unemployment rate down to 5.6 per cent.

The south-west fared worst of the English regions, with an increase in unemployment of 7,000.

  • North West: down 20,000 to 209,000 (5.9% unemployment rate)
  • Yorkshire/Humber: down 17,000 to 166,000 (6.2%)
  • South East: down 13,000 to 195,000 (4.2%)
  • East Midlands: down 13,000 to 116,000 (4.9%)
  • Wales: down 12,000 to 92,000 (6.2%)
  • North East: down 11,000 to 100,000 (7.7%)
  • London: down 10,000 to 287,000 (6.2%)
  • West Midlands: down 1,000 to 172,000 (6.2%)
  • East of England: up 1,000 to 154,000 (5%)
  • Northern Ireland: up 3,000 to 53,000 (6%)
  • South West: up 7,000 to 126,000 (4.6%)
  • Scotland: up 9,000 to 167,000 (6%)

While Wales celebrate a 12,000 drop in unemployment, Scotland saw a rise of 9,000 and Northern Ireland saw 3,000 more people out of work.

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