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Suspect charged in '82 London attack

By Laura Smith-Spark and Stephanie Halasz, CNN
updated 12:43 PM EDT, Wed May 22, 2013
Sefton was one of the horses injured in Hyde Park on July 20, 1982, when an IRA car bomb killed five soldiers.
Sefton was one of the horses injured in Hyde Park on July 20, 1982, when an IRA car bomb killed five soldiers.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: John Anthony Downey appears in court charged with a 1982 London bombing
  • He is accused of the murders of four cavalry members
  • The cavalry members and 7 horses were killed as they traveled through Hyde Park
  • "There is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction," said prosecutors

(CNN) -- A man has been charged with the murders of four members of the Royal Household Cavalry in a 1982 IRA attack in London, the UK Crown Prosecution Service said in a statement Wednesday.

The suspect is named as John Anthony Downey, 61, of County Donegal, Ireland.

The four cavalry members were killed in London's Hyde Park on July 20, 1982, as they rode from their barracks to Buckingham Palace. Seven horses were also killed.

Downey is accused of the murders of Roy John Bright, Dennis Richard Anthony Daly, Simon Andrew Tipper and Geoffrey Vernon Young, a Crown Prosecution Service statement said.

He's also charged with intending to cause an explosion likely to endanger life.

"We have determined that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and that these charges are in the public interest," said Sue Hemming, head of Special Crime and Counter-Terrorism at the Crown Prosecution Service.

Downey made an initial court appearance, at Westminster Magistrates' Court, on Wednesday afternoon.

In 1987, IRA member Gilbert "Danny" McNamee was ordered jailed for 25 years for making the bomb. The conviction was later overturned, and McNamee was freed.

The Good Friday peace deal in 1998 largely brought to an end three decades of violence over the question of whether Northern Ireland should stay under British control or join the Republic of Ireland, as republicans want.

CNN's Pierre Meilhan and Kim Chakanetsa contributed to this report.

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