A former British soldier who went on trial for a Troubles-era murder has died at the age of 80.
Dennis Hutchings went on trial in Belfast in connection to the murder of John Pat Cunningham in Tyrone in 1974.
Cunningham, who suffered from learning difficulties, was shot in the back while fleeing from an army patrol on the outskirts of Benburb.
Hutchings was in charge of the patrol that carried out the shooting and had fired a number of rounds from his rifle.
His second court appearance was due on Monday morning but the judge was told that he had contracted Covid-19 and was required to self isolate as a result.
The case was adjourned for three weeks, however, it later emerged that Hutchings was hospitalised after falling seriously ill.
It’s understood that he had been suffering from a number of serious illnesses and was receiving treatment for kidney disease and a heart condition.
He was later pronounced dead at a hospital in Belfast.
In response to his death, DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson said Hutchins should not have been on trial “not least because of his health, but also a lack of compelling new evidence.” He added that “there are serious questions to answer here,”.
IMAGE – Twitter