Dying Real IRA man jailed for Massereene murders
A TERMINALLY ill Real IRA man has been jailed for life for murdering two British soldiers at Massereene army base.
Brian Shivers (46), of Magherafelt, Co Derry, who is suffering from cystic fibrosis, was found guilty by Mr Justice Anthony Hart at a packed and tense Antrim Crown Court.
Earlier, a co-accused, Colin Duffy (44), from Lurgan, Co Armagh, was cleared for his alleged part in the March 2009 ambush on the soldiers at the main gates to the army base at Massereene, Antrim -- even though the judge said DNA evidence found on the tip of a glove linked him to the gunmen's getaway car.
But he added: "I consider that there is insufficient evidence to satisfy me beyond reasonable doubt that whatever Mr Duffy may have done when he wore the latex glove or touched a seatbelt buckle meant that he was preparing the car in some way for this murderous attack."
"And therefore I find him not guilty."
Police chiefs were bitterly disappointed at the verdict.
It was the second time Duffy, a married man, and closely identified with dissident republicans opposed to the peace process, has been cleared of murder.
London and Birmingham relatives of the two soldiers who died, Sappers Patrick Azimkar ( 21) and Mark Quinsey (23) listened for three hours as Mr Justice Hart delivered his verdict. They were the first soldiers to be murdered in the North since 1997.
The non-jury trial lasted six weeks. It ended just before Christmas and Mr Justice Hart took four weeks to consider his verdicts. Shivers was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Just months before he launched his attack at Massereene doctors told him he had only three or four years to live.