Dennis Hutchings, former soldier on trial for Troubles shooting dies

Dennis Hutchings denied attempted murder and causing grievous bodily harm to John Patrick Cunningham in 1974. Credit: Presseye

A former soldier who had been on trial over a fatal shooting during the Troubles has died.

Dennis Hutchings, who was 80 and from Cornwall, denied the attempted murder of John Pat Cunningham in Benburb in 1974.

The 27-year-old, who had a learning difficulty, died after being shot in the back whilst running from an Army patrol.

On Monday the trial was adjourned for at least three weeks after the Crown Court was informed that Mr Hutchings had contracted coronavirus.

The Northern Ireland Veterans Movement made the announcement on behalf of Mr Hutching's family that he had passed away at the Mater Hospital in Belfast on Monday night.

Mr Hutchings, who served with the Lifeguards Regiment, had been due to appear before a non-jury trial at Laganside Courts.

However, a defence barrister said Mr Hutchings had returned a positive PCR test for Covid-19 at the weekend.

The veteran soldier had a number of serious health issues.