Family of man tortured into confessing that he killed soldier awarded £350,000

Liam Holden, who died last year aged 68, was convicted in 1972

The family of a man who was tortured into a confession that he killed a soldier has been awarded £350,000 (€397,000) by the High Court in Belfast.

Liam Holden was the last man to be sentenced to death by hanging in the UK after he was convicted in 1972 for the murder of a soldier. He had been tortured in military custody, which the High Court found had led to his confession.

His sentence was reduced to life in prison but the conviction was quashed in 2012. He then received £1 million in damages for the miscarriage of justice.

Mr Holden died last year at the age of 68 after launching civil proceedings for damages against the ministry of defence and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).


He previously gave evidence in the case.

Mr Justice Rooney said he had been an honest and truthful witness who had described traumatic experiences.

He awarded damages for personal injuries, loss and damage while Mr Holden had been unlawfully detained at the Black Mountain Army Base.

He was awarded £50,000 for waterboarding, hooding and threat to kill, £10,000 for malicious prosecution, £10,000 for misfeasance in public office, £30,000 in aggravated damages and £250,000 for special loss.

Speaking outside court Mr Holden’s son, Samuel, said he wished his father had lived to hear the judgment.

“It’s a shame he was not here to hear it finished, it was a hard journey for him, everything he went through, it’s sad he’s not here to see it over,” he said.

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly paid tribute to the Holden family.

“I want to commend Liam’s family for their determination and dignity and their continued campaign for truth and justice,” he said.

“Today’s verdict in the courts is further vindication of that campaign.” – PA