A VETERAN who died of Covid while on trial over a 1974 shooting was hounded to his grave, his supporters say.
Dennis Hutchings, 80, was facing court despite being cleared twice and suffering from kidney failure and heart disease.
Dennis, of Cawsand, Cornwall, was facing court despite being cleared twice and suffering from kidney failure and heart diseaseCredit: Pacemaker
The double-jabbed great-grandad died on Monday night.
Ex-Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer, who was at the Belfast trial with him, said: “I was able to phone him, hours before he died.
“His very last words to me were: ‘Get me out of here. Get me home’.
“Why was this dying old man dragged to court when it was abundantly clear there was no evidence. He died alone in a hospital bed without his family. It was the last indignity. It’s a f*g disgrace.”
Dennis, of Cawsand, Cornwall, vowed to clear his name when charged with attempted murder after a Troubles legacy investigation hoping it would bring an end to veterans’ prosecutions.
There was no evidence to prove the former Life Guard shot dead John Pat Cunningham, 27, in Co Tyrone, Belfast crown court was told.
Veterans campaigner Pete Rayner, 71, a former Royal Anglian Regiment corporal, said: “Dennis sacrificed himself for his mates. He knew he was dying but struggled to court to clear his name hoping things would change.
“IRA terrorists serving 20 life sentences for killing innocent people have walked free.
“Others were pardoned or given immunity from prosecution thanks to Tony Blair’s Good Friday deal. What’s happened to Dennis tells us that it’s surely time to draw a line under prosecutions of British soldiers who did their duty in Northern Ireland.”