Young v Downey: QBD 18 Dec 2019

Responsibility for IRA bombing fixed

The claimant sought a finding that the defendant had been responsible for a IRA bombing in 1982 which killed her father and three other soldiers and injured 31 others. He had been acquitted at a criminal trial.
Held: The limitation period was extended: ‘As was said in Carroll, the burden on the claimant is not necessarily a heavy one. She has sufficiently explained the reasons for the delay and pointed to the prejudice she will suffer if she is not permitted to have her claim adjudicated upon in the civil jurisdiction. The defendant has not demonstrated any prejudice to him in allowing the claim to proceed outside the primary limitation period. If the claim is not allowed to proceed, the defendant will avoid a determination on the evidence within this jurisdiction, having avoided adjudication in the criminal court due to an error on the part of the state. Having regard to all the circumstances of the case, I do not believe that would be an equitable outcome. I therefore exercise the discretion under section 33 of the Limitation Act 1980 to disapply the provisions of sections 11 and 12 and allow this claim to proceed (including insofar as it is brought for the benefit of the claimant’s mother).’
‘My analysis of the evidence presented to me leads me to find the following facts are established to the necessary standard:
i) The claimant’s father, Lance Corporal Jeffrey Young was unlawfully killed (as were the three other soldiers) by persons acting together in the name of the IRA.
ii) The deaths resulted from a deliberate, carefully planned attack on members of the military as they were on their way to carry out their ceremonial duties in the Changing of the Guard at Horse Guards.
iii) The explosion was caused by a radio-controlled improvised device in the boot of the Morris Marina, registered number LMD 657P, which had been designed and carefully assembled to kill and maim with the addition of nails as shrapnel.
iv) The car was bought at auction on 13 July 1982 by an Irishman, whom it can reasonably be inferred was one of the bomb conspirators.
v) The car is likely to have remained in the possession of the conspirators in the week leading up to the bombing, during which time the bomb was assembled in its boot.
vi) The car was parked in Portman Square between 17 and 18 July. It was then parked at the Royal Garden Hotel car park from 18 July until the morning of the bombing.
vii) The defendant’s fingerprints were on the tickets for both car parks.
viii) There can be no sensible explanation for the defendant’s fingerprints to be on the car parking tickets other than that he was responsible for moving the car between the car parks. It is probable that he was driving it on the morning of 20 July 2019.
ix) The defendant was a member of the IRA, as evidenced by his conviction in 1974.
x) In the circumstances, it is reasonable to infer that the defendant was knowingly involved in the concerted plan to detonate the bomb in Hyde Park specifically targeted at the passing Guard.’

[2019] EWHC 3508 (QB)
Bailii, Judiciary
Limitation Act 1980 11 12, Fatal Accidents Act 1976
England and Wales

Torts – Other, Limitation

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.645998