In the Media

Pair go on trial over murder of British soldiers at Northern Ireland barracks

PUBLISHED November 6, 2011

Colin Duffy and Brian Shivers to deny shooting dead two sappers at Massereene army base in 2009 The trial of two men accused of murdering soldiers preparing for a tour of Afghanistan begins in Antrim on Monday. The veteran republican Colin Duffy and Brian Shivers are charged with killing the two soldiers outside Massereene army barracks in the Northern Ireland town two years ago. Sappers Patrick Azimkar, 21, and Mark Quinsey, 23, were gunned down in the Real IRA attack hours before they were due to fly to Afghanistan. More than 60 shots were fired during the fatal double shooting in March 2009. The two soldiers were wearing desert fatigues in preparation for their Afghan tour of duty and were collecting pizzas at the front of their base when the shooting started. Two pizza deliverymen were badly wounded in the attack. The trial has been moved to Antrim crown court because of fears that Duffy and Shivers's appearance in Belfast would spark a clash with loyalists. Belfast crown court has been hearing a trial involving up to a dozen alleged Ulster Volunteer Force terrorists who are being held on the word of a supergrass. It means the two accused of the Real IRA killing will be tried a short distance from the army camp where the soldiers were shot dead. It is expected that members of the Azimkar family from London and of Quinsey from Birmingham will attend the trial. Duffy and Shivers are pleading not guilty although it is unclear whether they will take the stand during the trial, which could last up to five weeks. The prosecution is expected to call two other soldiers wounded in the attack as witnesses as well as the pizza deliverymen. The case against Duffy and Shivers centres on DNA samples. The gunmen escaped in a green Vauxhall car that was abandoned in a country lane eight miles away. The vehicle was set on fire but only partly burned out as the killers accidentally left open a window. Duffy's DNA was allegedly discovered on the tip of a latex glove in the getaway car. Soil samples from a holdall in the car ? which contained camouflage jackets, balaclavas and ammunition ? are also said to be similar to those found on a boot belonging to Duffy. Duffy is being held in Maghaberry top-security prison and is on a no-wash dirty protest. Shivers, who comes from County Derry, was granted bail as he has cystic fibrosis. The Real IRA has admitted responsibility for murdering the soldiers and trying to kill other members of the army during the gun attack on the base. The murders marked a fresh armed campaign by the terror group, which reorganised after a series of arrests, thwarted bombing operations in Britain and the fallout from the Omagh bomb massacre in 1998. Real IRA Northern Ireland UK security and terrorism Military Crime Henry McDonald © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds