British ex-serviceman convicted for the death of a young Catholic during the Northern Ireland conflict

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Archive – Flag of Northern Ireland – Liam Mcburney/PA Wire/dpa

Former British serviceman David Holden has been found guilty of the 1988 death of young Catholic Aidan McAnespie during the Northern Ireland conflict, violent events known as ‘The Troubles’, making him the first British veteran to be convicted in Northern Ireland since the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998.

A Northern Irish court has ruled that the 53-year-old soldier is responsible for the death of McAnespie, who was shot in the back near a checkpoint as he was walking in the vicinity. The bullet ricocheted off the road and then hit the young man.

His family welcomed the verdict and said they were «relieved and happy» that «justice has been done» despite the fact that 34 years have passed, according to the BBC.

McAnespie approached the border checkpoint on his way to a soccer match. Judges have now ruled that the defendant is «guilty» beyond reasonable doubt.

The defendant, however, has insisted that he believed the gun had the safety on, but the judges have stressed that he «should not have taken it for granted.» «The defendant should have taken into account at the time he pulled the trigger that if the gun was cocked it could lead to deadly consequences,» he has stated.

The ruling states that the defendant violated two «golden rules,» which include never pointing a gun unless you are prepared to open fire and avoiding at all times the potential for a negligent discharge.