Man Acquitted Of British Soldiers' Murder

A man has been acquitted at Belfast Crown Court of murdering two British soldiers outside an Army barracks in Northern Ireland.
Brian Shivers, 47, had denied all involvement in a gun attack outside Massereene barracks in Antrim in which sappers Mark Quinsey, 23, and Patrick Azimkar, 21, died.
The two soldiers, from 38 Engineer Regiment, were shot by two masked gunmen as they collected pizzas outside the gates of the barracks on March 7, 2009.
They were just hours from deploying to Afghanistan and were already dressed in their desert fatigues.
Two other soldiers and two pizza delivery men were seriously injured in the shooting.
Prosecutors claimed that DNA evidence found on matchsticks and a mobile phone in and around the abandoned, partially burnt-out getaway vehicle used during the attack belonged to Mr Shivers.
But the defence insisted that the genetic traces did not prove he was involved on the night of the shootings.
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 at Belfast Crown Court.
Last year, he was convicted of the murders of the two soldiers and ordered to serve at least 25 years, but that judgment was quashed earlier this year by Northern Ireland's Court of Appeal. He was then ordered to face a retrial.
Colin Duffy was a co-accused at the original trial at Antrim Crown Court. He was acquitted of all charges.
Judge Mr Justice Deeny said prosecution claims that Mr Shivers had played a key role in helping the gunmen get away and burn the attack vehicle were not convincing.
He also questioned why the attackers would choose a cystic fibrosis sufferer, who was also engaged to a Protestant woman, as an associate.
"He was an unlikely associate for this hardened gang to rely on," he said.
Mr Shivers' lawyer Niall Murphy said outside the court: "This is not a moment of celebration.
"It must be remembered that there are two families still grieving and several people who are still suffering from their injuries.
"That said, Brian Shivers has suffered the horror of having been wrongfully convicted in what now must be described as a miscarriage of justice.
"He is a seriously ill man and when he was in prison he was persistently denied access to medication and access to medical facilities."


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