Barracks murder appeal 'scandalous'

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Dissident republican Brian Shivers has had two murder convictions quashed Dissident republican Brian Shivers has had two murder convictions quashed

The mother of a British soldier shot dead alongside a comrade in Northern Ireland has branded a decision to quash the conviction of the man jailed for their murder as "scandalous".

Geraldine Azimkar - whose sapper son Patrick, 21, was gunned down with Mark Quinsey, 23, outside Massereene Army barracks in Antrim - spoke out after the the Court of Appeal in Belfast ruled the verdicts in the non-jury trial of Brian Shivers were unsafe and quashed his 25-year sentence.

Speaking from her home in London, she said the decision had left her and Patrick's father Mehmet Azimkar disillusioned with the criminal justice system.

High-profile republican Colin Duffy, from Lurgan, Co Armagh, was acquitted of the murder charges at the trial at Antrim Crown Court last year.

"It seems scandalous really that this terrible murder happened and the attempted murders happened and it looks like no one is going to be held to account for it," Mrs Azimkar said.

"We feel very let down by the criminal justice system. It does not seem to work for the victims of crime. The whole thing is awful from start to finish."

Shivers' appeal against additional convictions on six counts of attempted murder and one of possession of two firearms and ammunition with intent to endanger life was also allowed by the Court of Appeal.

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) must consider whether to apply for a retrial for the 47-year-old from Magherafelt, who is terminally ill with cystic fibrosis. He will remain in custody pending the PPS's decision.

Last January, judge Mr Justice Anthony Hart, who has now retired, found that Shivers set light to the getaway car used in the attack. Mr Justice Hart said he was satisfied that DNA on burnt matches found at the scene belonged to the defendant.

But the Court of Appeal ruled that such an act, after the shootings, was not sufficient to prove that Shivers was guilty of the role of secondary party in the murders.

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