Shivers not guilty of Massereene barracks murders

Friday 03 May 2013 21.50
Brian Shivers denied involvement in the attack outside Massereene army barracks
Brian Shivers denied involvement in the attack outside Massereene army barracks

A man has been acquitted of murdering two British soldiers in Northern Ireland.

Brian Shivers, 47, of Co Derry, had denied all involvement in the gun attack outside the Massereene army barracks in Antrim in which sappers Mark Quinsey, 23, and Patrick Azimkar, 21, died.

Two other soldiers and two pizza delivery men were seriously injured in the shooting in March 2009.

Mr Justice Donnell Deeny delivered his reserved judgment after the non-jury retrial at Belfast Crown Court.

Mr Shivers was acquitted of two counts of murder, six counts of attempted murder, one of possession of firearms and ammunition with intent to endanger life and one of assisting offenders.

Last year, he was convicted of the murders of the two soldiers and ordered to serve at least 25 years.

However, that judgment was quashed earlier this year by Northern Ireland's Court of Appeal. He was then ordered to face a retrial.

Another man, Colin Duffy, from Lurgan, Co Armagh, was a co-accused at the original trial at Antrim Crown Court.

He was acquitted of all charges.

Mr Shivers showed no emotion when Mr Justice Deeny said he was free to go.

The judge said that when he considered if the prosecution had proved the defendant's guilt beyond reasonable doubt the answer was "clearly no".

He said the prosecution contention that Mr Shivers had played a key role in helping the gunmen get away and burn the attack vehicle was not convincing.

The judge asked why hardened terrorists would choose Mr Shivers, who suffers from cystic fibrosis and was engaged to a Protestant woman, as an associate.

"He was an unlikely associate for this hardened gang to rely on," he said.