Northern Ireland news

'Relief and sadness' as estate of Liam Holden awarded £350,000

The family of Liam Holden
Connla Young

THE son of a Catholic man subjected to 'torture' techniques by the British army has spoken of his family's relief after his estate was awarded £350,000.

Before his death last year Liam Holden launched legal action over his treatment, which included water boarding by members of the Parachute Regiment more than 50 years ago

Today the High Court in Belfast awarded significant damages to his estate.


A young Liam Holden in custody


His son Samuel said his family was relieved by the court ruling.

"It was over 50 years ago this all started for my father, there's definitely relief and sadness that he is not here to see it ending and to see his name cleared," he said.

He said his father was affected by his experience.

"It hadn't much of an impact on us but it definitely had an impact on my father, he kept it to himself, he suffered in silence," he said.

"It definitely affected him but he would never burden us with what he went through."



Mr Holden's son said other victims were always in the thoughts of his father.

"He wasn't the only person that suffered this but my father's case will hopefully shine a light on the other cases and help those people get to the end of their journey and get their names cleared the way my father's was," he said.

Mr Holden died last year but despite being in ill health was determined to push ahead with his case.

"He always saw the others and that's why he kept this case going even when he wasn't well and he was very, very sick last year," his son explained.

"He said 'I want to get this done, I want to get this finished and I want to help the other people', the others that suffered the way he did and went through the same things the way he did daily in their minds - dealing with what they went through."

Mr Holden thanked the judge, Mr Justice Rooney, who he said "went above and beyond to show the truth".

Lawyer Patricia Coyle, of Harte Coyle Collins Solicitors, said: "My clients very much welcome this independent and scrupulously objective judgment from the court and all its conclusions.

"The judgment cracks open the apparatus of denial constructed by the Ministry of Defence to hide these techniques in the shadows and that today is not just an important day for my client and his family but also for other victims of similar state injustice."

Paul O'Connor of the Pat Finucane Centre said there are other similar cases.

"We know from our work and the people we have identified that Liam Holden was only he tip of the iceberg in terms of the Parachute Regiment and water boarding and other serious allegations of torture," he said.

Northern Ireland news