The family of a murdered UDR soldier and Ulster Human Rights Watch (UHRW) have welcomed the decision by the Attorney General to open a new Inquest into his death.

Corporal James Elliott was abducted in 1972 at the border in Newry while driving his lorry. Thirty hours later his body was dumped on the side of a road in Newtownhamilton, Co Armagh, as a lure for a further attack on security forces.

The Attorney General, Dame Brenda King, informed in writing the law firm representing the Elliott family and UHRW of her direction to hold a fresh Inquest.

Corporal Elliott’s son, Jim, said: “This letter confirming a new Inquest is a big boost to all of us in our efforts to get justice.

“My father was savagely attacked by terrorists and we want to hold the guilty ones to account and to tell the world what these thugs and criminals did.

“I welcome the Attorney General’s decision and look forward to these new legal proceedings taking place.”

UHRW Advocacy worker, Jonathan Larner, said the decision must not be derailed by any new Legacy Bill.

Mr Larner said: “The Elliott family have every right to have this matter properly examined by a Coroner. Their father deserves no less.

“Any new legacy legislation cannot be allowed to deny justice to this brave soldier. Many want to draw a line under the past and support this Bill currently before Parliament. However, if it goes through, there’s a very real danger this new Inquest will be halted and the Elliotts once again denied their day in court.

“The family have been dignified and determined in their decades-long campaign and for that they are to be commended.

“Ulster Human Rights Watch appreciate this decision by the AG for Northern Ireland, which is a major advance in the case. It is also an encouragement for victims of terrorism to seek justice done and acknowledgement for what they have suffered.”