A man jailed for murdering two British soldiers at an army base in Co Antrim has had his conviction quashed by the Court of Appeal in Belfast.

Brian Shivers, 47, from Magherafelt in Co Derry had challenged his conviction for the murders of Sappers Mark Quinsey, 23, and Patrick Azimkar, 21.

They were shot dead outside Massereene barracks by the Real IRA as they collected pizza in March 2009.

Four others, including two pizza delivery men, were seriously injured in the attack.

The Court of Appeal ruled today that the verdicts in the non-jury trial were unsafe.

Mr Shivers had been ordered to serve a minimum of 25 years in prison.

His 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.

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) must now consider whether to apply for a retrial for the 47-year-old, who is terminally ill with cystic fibrosis. That decision is expected tomorrow.

Last January, judge Mr Justice Anthony Hart, who has now retired, found that Mr 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 Mr Shivers was guilty of the role of secondary party in the murders.

The summary of judgment stated: "The Chief Justice [Sir Declan Morgan] said that the court did not accept that a person who provides assistance after a murder with full knowledge of what has happened becomes guilty of murder and that there was no authority to support such a proposition."

At the same trial in Antrim Crown Court, high-profile republican Colin Duffy, from Lurgan, Co Armagh, was acquitted of the murder charges.

Sappers Quinsey and Azimkar were hours from deploying to Afghanistan, and were already dressed in desert fatigues, when they were shot.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "Our thoughts remain with the families of Sappers Patrick Azimkar and Mark Quinsey at this extremely difficult time."

A PPS spokeswoman said: "The PPS will inform the Court of Appeal of its decision whether or not it's seeking a retrial."