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By Alan Erwin
Belfast Telegraph
11 May 2012

Jailed: Marian Price with a masked man during a 32 County Sovereignty Movement Easter commemoration

A new legal bid is being prepared to free veteran republican Marian Price after a terror charge against her was dismissed.

The challenge will centre on Secretary of State Owen Paterson’s decision to revoke the 57-year-old’s release from prison on licence, her lawyer confirmed.

Price, from Stockman’s Avenue, Belfast, was among four defendants to have charges in connection with an Easter Rising commemoration parade in Derry’s city cemetery last year dismissed by a judge.

She had been accused of managing a meeting in support of a proscribed organisation.

Her three co-accused were released due to delays in preparation of preliminary inquiry papers in the case.

But Price remains in custody on a separate charge connected to the murders of two soldiers at Massereene Barracks in Antrim.

She denies providing property, including a mobile phone, for terrorist purposes in connection with the killing of Sappers Patrick Azimkar and Mark Quinsey in March 2009.

Price had her licence revoked by the Secretary of State almost a year ago.

Mr Paterson said at the time that her licence had been revoked because the threat she posed had “significantly increased”. Her lawyer claimed the case against her over the Derry incident was “a central plank” in Mr Paterson’s decision.

Kevin Winters said: “One year later we are told today that the charge has been withdrawn.

“This raises serious doubts on the credibility of the reasons to revoke her licence, and we intend to revisit this through the courts.”

Possible options include issuing judicial review proceedings or a writ of habeas corpus seeking her release from detention.

With Price, also known by her married name of McGlinchey, said to have been too ill to attend a number of court hearings, Mr Winters added: “The timing of this is significant given Marian’s deteriorating health.”

In 1973 Price was jailed for 20 years for her involvement in an IRA bombing campaign in London, alongside her sister Dolours and Sinn Fein minister Gerry Kelly. She is now a member of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement.

A Freedom of Information request recently revealed that it cost £194,537 to house Price in Maghaberry prison for a nine-month period, before she was moved to Hydebank women’s prison earlier this year.

Price had been sent to Maghaberry, an all-male prison, following her arrest last year but was then moved to Hydebank on the advice of health trust staff.

BBC
10 May 2012

Terrorist charges have been dismissed against four prominent republicans, including Marian Price, over an Easter commemoration parade in Derry.

They were all charged in connection with a demonstration last year in the City Cemetery during which a masked man made threats against the PSNI.

Price was said to be too ill to attend the hearing.

She remains in custody charged in connection with the murders of two soldiers at Massereene Barracks.

Price was due to appear at Derry Magistrates Court alongside Patrick McDaid, of Beechwood Avenue, Frank Quigley of Elmwood Road and Marvin Canning of Glendara.

Mr Canning is a brother-in-law of Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

After being told that preliminary inquiry papers were still not ready, District Judge Barney McElholm released her three co-accused as there was no evidence before him.

He said everyone was entitled to a fair trial within a reasonable period of time and he had seen cases involving complicated forensics which had taken less time than this.

A prosecution barrister requested a two-week adjournment to allow the papers to be finalised but the judge said he would not allow any further adjournments.

The judge said that while Price’s case was slightly different, the three men could be released from custody.

Price was jailed for the IRA bombing of the Old Bailey in London in 1973. Secretary of State Owen Paterson revoked her release from prison on licence almost a year ago.

She denies providing property for the purposes of terrorism, a charge related to the murders of Sappers Patrick Azimkar and Mark Quinsey at Massereene barracks in March 2009.

Price’s lawyer said a new bid to free her would be made. He claimed the case against her over the Derry incident had been “a central plank” in Mr Patterson’s decision.

Antrim Times
23 March 2012
**Via Newshound

SOUTH Antrim MLA, Pam Lewis, has welcomed the dedication of a memorial stone to commemorate Sappers Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimkar, who were murdered in Antrim three years ago on Wednesday, March 7.

Pam said: “Wednesday was an emotional day as Antrim remembered the horrendous murders of Sappers Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimkar outside of their barracks three years ago. I know that all who gathered in the church were moved by the contribution of the families at this memorial service and I admire the grace shown by them in the face of such terrible loss.

“This memorial service, just like the gathering at Chapel Corner in the aftermath of the murders, is a further demonstration that the good people of Antrim, both protestant and catholic, will stand shoulder to shoulder against the actions of cowardly murderers who have nothing to offer our society but violence and empty rhetoric. I would urge the PSNI to do all in their power to ensure that all those responsible for this atrocity are brought to justice.

“Nothing can or will fill the empty space that has been left in the lives of the families of Mark and Patrick, but I hope that they can take some comfort from the fact that there are many people in Antrim thinking of them and remembering their loss three years on.” she added.

Irish Examiner
7 Mar 2012

Families of two murdered British soldiers have paid an emotional visit to the town where they died to unveil a memorial honouring their loved ones.

Relatives of sappers Patrick Azimkar, 21, and Mark Quinsey, 23, thanked the people of Antrim for remembering the Royal Engineers in such a “wonderful and extraordinary” way as they attended a dedication ceremony held on the third anniversary of their deaths at the hands of dissident republican terrorists.

The young soldiers from 38 Engineer Regiment were gunned down in March 2009 by a Real IRA gang outside Antrim’s Massereene Army barracks as they collected a pizza delivery hours before they were due to deploy to Afghanistan.

Only one man has been convicted of the murders and after the memorial event family members expressed doubts whether they would ever get full justice.

Sapper Quinsey’s mother Pamela Brankin and sister Jaime joined Sapper Azimkar’s parents Mehmet Azimkar and Geraldine Ferguson and his brother James as the engraved black stone bearing the soldiers’ names was uncovered beside the town’s cenotaph during a solemn ceremony.

Around 500 people braved snow and sleet to attend the dedication and an earlier inter-denominational church service.

Sapper Azimkar’s mother said the knowledge local people still cared about her son was a great source of comfort.

“It’s a very difficult day because it’s the third anniversary but coming here today, seeing this incredible commemoration, is extraordinary really, it’s beyond belief,” she said afterwards.

“This is definitely of great comfort because even after we are gone, all of us are gone, their memories will live on and of course that is very special.”

Jaime Quinsey thanked all those who had come to pay tribute to her brother.

“Each year has been very difficult but this year coming here, seeing how much all these people care – coming out in this weather – it’s just made this day so much easier and the following years,” she said.

“It makes me so proud of my brother and Patrick for what they did, being in the Army.

“It’s wonderful to see how much Ireland cares.”

Driving sleet that poured down on the relatives as they were led by a lone piper from All Saints Parish Church through the town centre to the cenotaph in Market Square gave way to spring sunshine as the dedication began.

The crowd that was huddled beneath umbrellas emerged as Antrim Mayor Paul Michael gave an address, followed by prayers and readings from both Catholic and Protestant clergy. A piper played from high above on the walls of Antrim castle before a minute’s silence.

After the stone was unveiled and the families laid a wreath at the cenotaph, Sapper Azimkar’s mother and Jaime Quinsey both spoke to the crowd. Applause rang out around the square as they concluded.

An inscription carved on the memorial on behalf of both families read: “Our greatest hope is a commitment to unity and peace in defiance of the prejudice of a few.”

Sapper Quinsey, from Birmingham, and Sapper Azimkar, from London, were dressed in their desert fatigues and were within hours of leaving the base when they were shot dead.

Two other soldiers and two pizza delivery drivers were injured in the gun attack.

Co Londonderry man Brian Shivers, 46, was sentenced to 25 years in prison after being found guilty of the murders in January this year. The terminally ill cystic fibrosis sufferer is expected to die in jail within four or five years.

Shivers’ co-accused, high-profile republican Colin Duffy, 44, from Lurgan, Co Armagh, was acquitted of the murder charges in a six-week non-jury trial at Antrim Crown Court.

Police are still hunting members of the gang who carried out the shooting.

Today both families had different perspectives on whether they will ever get full justice.

“I personally don’t think we ever will,” said Jaime Quinsey.

“But it just brings great comfort to know the people care so much and that to me, it’s not justice, but it helps a lot.”

Geraldine Ferguson said the family did not know if they would get justice, but they keep hoping.

“We hope we might get justice one day, we don’t know, we’ll have to wait and see.

“But the fact that so many people actually care is a massive consolation – they don’t need to and they do,” she said.

News Letter
15 February 2012

A TERMINALLY ill dissident republican jailed for murdering two soldiers in Antrim has launched a legal bid to overturn his conviction.

Brian Shivers, 46, lodged papers to appeal the verdict that he was guilty of killing Sappers Mark Quinsey, 23, and Patrick Azimkar, 21.

His legal team claim he was wrongly punished and want an urgent hearing due to his cystic fibrosis.

Solicitor Niall Murphy said: “Mr Shivers was wrongly convicted and punished since no conduct of his could constitute the offences of which he has been convicted.”

The soldiers were shot by the Real IRA as they collected pizzas outside the Massereene barracks in Antrim in March 2009, hours before they deployed to Afghanistan.

Shivers, from Magherafelt, Co Derry, was ordered to serve a minimum of 25 years in prison after being convicted of the killings last month.

He was also found guilty of six counts of attempted murder and one of possession of two firearms and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

His co-accused, veteran republican Colin Duffy, was acquitted of all charges.

:::u.tv:::
10 Feb 2012

A “chilling” recorded phone call made by the killers of two young soldiers at Massereene barracks in 2009 has been released by police, in the hope the public will help them to identify those involved.

The investigation into the dissident republican gun attack, which killed Sappers Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimkar, is continuing after the conviction and sentencing of Magherafelt man Brian Shivers.

While he must serve at least 25 years in jail for his part in the murder plot, detectives know that others were also involved – including the two gunmen who opened fire on the soldiers.

“It’s our duty to bring as many of those individuals who were involved in this atrocity before the court,” Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Justyn Galloway, said.

“Anyone who listens to what the boys’ mothers have said and who knows anything about the murders or can identify the voices on the phone recording should do the right thing and talk to police.”

–DCI Justyn Galloway

“Following the conclusion of the trial last month, when the inadvertently recorded call was used as evidence, we are now making the recording available in a public attempt to identify the voices on it.”

The recording was found on a mobile phone left in the green Vauxhall Cavalier car used as a getaway car by the Real IRA gang behind the shooting – it was found partially burnt-out at Ranaghan Road, about eight miles from the scene of the attack.

The Azimkar and Quinsey families were not in Belfast on Friday to hear Shivers’ jail tariff being set, but made written statements to the court regarding the impact the fatal shootings had on their lives.

“A mother thinks she will hold her child’s hand for the rest of her life. Now my hand is empty and lost,” Pamela Quinsey, Mark’s mother, said.

“I get no rest from the hurt and torment it has caused us all.”

Geraldine Ferguson, Patrick’s mother, added: “We have all changed, all aged – our hearts and souls are no longer light but weighed down with sorrow and loss.”

DCI Galloway praised the families for their dignified conduct throughout the past three years and urged anyone who could identify the voices to come forward.

South Antrim Ulster Unionist MLA Danny Kinahan added his voice to the appeals for help.

“One of the most powerful images in the aftermath of the Masserene murders was the sight of the Antrim community walking out of the town’s churches and standing side by side in silent tribute. There were no Protestants and no Catholics that day – just a community united in shock and anger and determined to show the world that they wanted no part of this atrocity.”

–Danny Kinahan, UUP

“Today’s sentence will not bring back the two murdered soldiers, but I hope it will provide a small degree of comfort to the men’s families,” he said.

“While the Antrim community will welcome the fact that one of the murderers has been sent to jail, the fact remains that other guilty people are still at large and posing a threat to the lives of others.”

Detectives investigating the murder plot have already gathered nearly 9,000 related documents and taken 1,858 witness statements.

A total of 33 searches and 14 arrests have been made to date, resulting in one conviction – namely Brian Shivers.

Another person – veteran republican Marian Price – has yet to go on trial on a related charge of providing property for the purposes of terrorism.

BBC
10 Feb 2012

A terminally ill man convicted of murdering two soldiers at Massereene Barracks, Antrim, has been told he must serve a minimum of 25 years in jail.

Brian Shivers, 46, from Magherafelt was convicted last month of the murders of Mark Quinsey, 23, and Patrick Azimkar, 21.

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

The court heard that Shivers has cystic fibrosis and doctors believe he has only a few years to live.

At Belfast Crown Court on Friday, Mr Justice Anthony Hart told him he would have to spend at least 25 years in prison before he could be considered for release.

Sapper Quinsey, from Birmingham, and Sapper Azimkar, from London, both serving with 38 Engineer Regiment, were about to leave for a tour of Afghanistan in March 2009 when they were murdered by republican dissidents opposed to the Good Friday peace deal.

The soldiers’ mothers were not in court on Friday, but the judge referred to statements in which they said their lives had been devastated by their loss.

Mark Quinsey’s mother, Pamela, said: “A mother thinks she will hold her child’s hand for the rest of her life. Now my hand is empty and lost. I get no rest from the hurt and torment it has caused us all.

“I tried my best to talk Mark out of going into the Army but he loved the Army. I was very proud of him. He was very popular and well loved by everyone. What a waste of a young man’s life.”

Patrick Azimkar’s mother, Geraldine, said: “We have all changed, all aged, our hearts and souls are no longer light but weighed down with sorrow and loss.

“We feel sort of empty inside and until recently felt life to be empty outside too. Everything seemed pointless and trivial, the colour of our lives faded. I believe Patrick is alive and flourishing with God and I believe we will see him again.”

‘Heinous crimes’

Sentencing Shivers, Judge Hart said: “Whilst he played a lesser role than the gunmen and driver of the attack car, by setting fire to the car he played a prominent and essential role in this carefully planned and ruthlessly executed crime.

“Those who carry out such heinous crimes would not be able to do so without the assistance of others who play a vital part in helping the main participants to escape afterwards, and conceal or destroy evidence.”

Addressing Shivers’ illness, the judge said: “The appropriate approach for the court to take is to proceed on the basis that such matters are irrelevant to sentencing, provided that the court is satisfied that there are available appropriate facilities within the prison to allow for such conditions to be properly dealt with.

“Should it be the case that Shivers’ condition deteriorates to such an extent that it may no longer be appropriate for him to be kept in prison that is a matter to be decided if and when it arises by the prison authorities in the first place, and ultimately by the minister of justice as the minister responsible for the prison service and the exercise of the Royal Prerogative.”

As Shivers turned to leave the court, members in the public gallery raised their thumbs at him.

Shivers’ co-accused, Colin Duffy, 44, from Lurgan was earlier acquitted of murdering the two soldiers.

Police have renewed their appeal for information about the murders.

They have issued a recording of a phone call made by the killers shortly after the attack.

The recording was on a mobile phone left in a green Vauxhall Cavalier car which the gang failed to set on fire at Ranaghan Road, about eight miles from Massereene.

Anyone who thinks they recognise any of the voices on the recording is asked to contact police.

To date, police said the investigation had generated:

• 8,910 documents

• 2,724 exhibits

• 4,062 actions

• 1,858 witness statements

• 33 searches

• 14 arrests

• 1 conviction

• 1 related charge (still to go to trial)

News Letter
Saturday 4 February 2012 07:02

THE limited life expectancy of a terminally-ill dissident republican convicted of murdering two British soldiers should not influence the length of his jail term, his defence lawyer has accepted.

Cystic fibrosis sufferer Brian Shivers, 46, was handed a life sentence last month after being found guilty of the murders of Sappers Patrick Azimkar, 21, and Mark Quinsey, 23, outside Massereene Army barracks in Antrim on March 7, 2009.

His lawyer, Pat O’Connor QC, told Belfast Crown Court his client had only four or five years to live.

But he acknowledged judge Justice Anthony Hart was duty bound to impose a minimum term that was much longer.

“There’s no allowance that my lord can make that can have any meaning in relation to a life expectancy that is so limited,” he said.

Justice Hart was hearing submissions before setting what tariff the killer will receive. He is due to give his decision next Friday.

Shivers, dressed in a grey jumper and jeans and sporting a beard, sat impassively in the dock as his lawyer told the court he faced spending the last years of his life behind bars.

“The life expectancy of Mr Shivers in the opinion of the most eminent expert in the field is four to five years,” said Mr O’Connor.

“This means effectively Mr Shivers will never see the outside of prison except for when he needs hospital treatment or the possibility of compassionate leave.”

The English soldiers from the 38 Engineer Regiment were about to begin a tour of duty in Afghanistan when they were gunned down in an attack by republicans opposed to the Good Friday Agreement.

Sapper Quinsey, from Birmingham, and Sapper Azimkar, from London, were dressed in their desert fatigues and were within hours of leaving the base.

They were collecting pizzas at the front gate when they came under fire.

Two other soldiers and two pizza delivery drivers were injured in the gun attack.

Shivers’ co-accused, high-profile republican Colin Duffy, 44, from Lurgan, was acquitted of the murder charges in the non-jury trial at Antrim Crown Court.

Mr O’Connor said Shivers, from Magherafelt, had been reassured by a letter from the Prison Service, outlining what treatment would be offered for his condition while he is in custody.

Prosecution lawyer Terence Mooney QC told the judge that a term at the higher end was appropriate, adding that there were many aggravating factors, including the fact that the murders were politically motivated acts of terrorism.

“The victims were vulnerable,” he added. “They were taken by surprise, they had no means of defence or escape.”

Mr Mooney said the sappers’ relatives and the survivors of the attack had submitted very personal victim impact statements to the judge, but he did not think it appropriate to detail their contents in open court.

Mr O’Connor said no-one could fail to be moved by the evidence.

DNA on matchsticks found in the partially burned-out Vauxhall Cavalier getaway car used in the ambush and abandoned eight miles away proved Shivers’ undoing at his trial.

Delivering his reserved judgment two weeks ago Justice Hart, who accused Shivers of inventing an alibi for his movements on the night of the attack, said he was satisfied that he had tried to set the car alight.

Yesterday, the judge acknowledged that the prosecution case claimed Shivers was a secondary party to the murders.

But he said that that would not have a significant influence on the length of term imposed.

“I think any allowance would be modest,” said the judge.

Relatives of Shivers and Duffy sat in the public gallery of Court 11 during the brief tariff hearing.

News Letter
Monday 23 January 2012

POLICE have dismissed claims from Colin Duffy that officers planted his DNA in the getaway car used in the murders of two soldiers at Massereene Barracks.

In a statement released at the weekend, the dissident republican who was cleared of the murders of Sappers Patrick Azimkar and Mark Quinsey described the charges against him as spurious.

His co-accused Brian Shivers was convicted on Friday of the Real IRA attack at the Army base in Antrim in 2009.

“I am firmly of the view that my DNA arose there because it was planted,” alleged Duffy.

I was never in that car.

“I state quite categorically here that I had no involvement in what happened at Massereene, no involvement whatsoever, and that has been vindicated in court because there was no credible evidence to suggest otherwise.” Yesterday, a PSNI spokesman pointed to the findings issued by Mr Justice Anthony Hart.

“The issue of DNA and how it got there was fully explored through the trial and referred to in the judgment,” he said.

Mr Justice Hart did dismiss the notion that the DNA evidence had been planted by detectives.

The judge said: “Had it been desired to concoct such evidence by placing such DNA on the latex tip, why not place the DNA on the jar found in the glove compartment and/or the bullets found in that jar, thereby constructing a much stronger case and potentially irrefutable inference that Duffy was intimately involved with these guns and therefore intimately involved with the attack itself?”

Duffy – who was cleared for a third time of murdering security force members – also said in his statement that he was “happy” to be called a dissident republican.

But he said he had no questions to answer.

“I did not need to answer to the spurious evidence or so-called evidence that they were adducing at the trial,” he said.

“The decision not to give evidence was a decision that we took on the basis of my view legally of how the case was going.”

Mr Justice Hart referred to Duffy’s decision not to take the stand when he said: “I am satisfied that the only sensible explanation for his silence is that he has no answer, or no answer that would stand up to examination when questioned about the presence of his DNA on the latex tip and on the seat-belt buckles.”

Brian Shivers, a divorcee, unemployed because of his illness from cystic fibrosis and engaged to a Protestant woman, was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Sappers Patrick Azimkar, 21, from London, and Mark Quinsey, 23, from Birmingham, were gunned down as they collected a pizza delivery outside the Massereene Army barracks in Antrim.

Dissident republican group the Real IRA claimed responsibility.

Jaime Quinsey, who said her brother Mark’s death had devastated her family, appealed for public support in the ongoing police investigation.

“We know there are more people involved and we want to see them sentenced,” she said. “Please help the police before these people destroy more families.”

By Sharon Ferguson
BBC
20 Jan 2012

**Video onsite

Patrick Azimkar The 21-year-old told his parents that if anything happened to him they had to get on with their lives

For Geraldine Ferguson and her husband Mehmet Azimkar, 7 March 2009 was the worst moment of the their lives.

It was the day their son Patrick was shot dead as he collected a pizza outside Massereene Army Barracks.

The 21-year-old told his parents that if anything happened to him they had to get on with their lives

His colleague and friend, Mark Quinsey, was also killed.

They had been due to depart for a tour of Afghanistan, with their regiment the Royal Engineers, within hours of taking delivery of their takeaway.

Patrick’s mother remembers receiving a phone call.

“They just kept saying he had died of gun-shot wounds and then they said it’s not Afghanistan, it’s Northern Ireland. It was the most surreal, terrible moment of our lives,” she said.

“Shock, for me that shock lasted well over a year, that profound state of shock, that’s what it was.”

The family had not feared for their son during his deployment in Northern Ireland.

“We did think he would be safe and obviously we were really worried about him going to Afghanistan but you just have to accept that, that’s part of being in the Army,” she said.

Happy

“We were worried about it but we’d never worried about him being in Northern Ireland.”

Patrick’s father Mehmet said his son had enjoyed his time there.

“Each time he was coming home he would say how he was enjoying Northern Ireland,” he said.

“The people were very friendly. He loved it over there and he even said after the Army he wouldn’t mind settling there.

“I mean, we knew about the past but it had been quiet for a long time.”

Geraldine remembers her son coming into the family kitchen while on a trip home before his deployment to Afghanistan.

“Patrick just walked in, he went over to the fridge and without looking at us, with his head behind the fridge, he said to us, ‘you know if I don’t come back from Afghanistan, I don’t want you lot all moping around and being soppy, you’ve got to get on with your lives’,” she said.

Geraldine Ferguson, the Mother of Patrick Azimkar: “This was a terrible crime”

“We said ‘oh Patrick, don’t be silly, everything’s going to be fine’. We did believe he would be fine.”

Struggle

Her son’s words have provided them and their son, James, with comfort.

“Mehmet will often say in the last year or two when it’s been so difficult sometimes to get through the day, he’ll say, ‘remember what Patrick said, we’ve got to get on with our lives’ and we do actually, we have and we do, but it isn’t easy,” she said.

She described the actions of the gunmen as “an act of distilled evil”.

“It was a kind of horrible, sharp, quick bombardment of evil and terror and then of course terrible loss from that,” she said.

“Patrick and Mark and lots of other young men were very badly hurt.

“But extraordinarily from there, there then came our way at least, this enormous very wide, long deep fast-flowing river, what perhaps could only be described as love really, of tremendous support and care, of love really and it carried us very well and it helped us to get through.”

The family received support from family, friends, colleagues, the Army, the PSNI and hundreds and hundreds of strangers who wrote to express their sympathy and outrage at the murders.

Patrick’s mother said she still feels anger to some degree towards the man who murdered her son.

Comfort

“It’s just impossible to understand why anybody would do that, particularly as there was a peace agreement, and it seems to be working for virtually everybody else, so it’s just impossible to comprehend.”

The family have been comforted by the kindness shown to them by the Northern Ireland public.
mehmet azimkar and geraldine ferguson Mehmet and Geraldine said part of them died with their son, but part of Patrick lives with them

Mehmet and Geraldine said part of them died with their son, but part of Patrick lives with them

“You can see how good people are, how sorry people are, you can genuinely see how people and the way they look at us and treat us, every single one of them, still after three years, there is nothing that they can’t do to make us feel at ease,” said Mehmet.

“They have been absolutely brilliant.”

One of the most difficult hurdles for the family since Patrick’s death has been sitting through the trial of the man found guilty of their son’s murder.

“It was very difficult, because suddenly you start living everything all over again,” said Mr Azimkar.

“Then of course you see some of the video evidence, although you can’t see any faces, you can see actions, it was all there. How it happened, what happened.

“They’re all my son’s friends, sitting giving evidence, still disturbed because they all were very close friends and I mean close, I never seen a closeness like that in all my life.

“How did an innocent boy just minding his own business, just popping out to get a pizza, get blown away with a bloody bullet. It was very distressing.”

Geraldine said it had been a gruelling few days in court.

“We wanted to be there and we were glad we were,” she said.

“We were supported by our PSNI officers who looked after us but nobody can take away the actual reality of what you have to sit through, but you somehow feel you need to.”

Brian Shivers was convicted of the murders of Patrick Azimkar and his fellow soldier, Mark Quinsey at Antrim Crown Court on Friday.

His co-accused Colin Duffy was acquitted of all charges.

BBC
21 Jan 2012

Prominent Republican Colin Duffy, who has been cleared of murdering two soldiers in Antrim, has said he believed his DNA had been planted in the getaway car.

On Friday, Mr Duffy, 44, from Lurgan, was aquitted of murdering Mark Quinsey, 23, and Patrick Azimkar, 21 at Massereene Barracks in March 2009.

His co-accused, Brian Shivers, 46, from Magherafelt was convicted.

Mr Duffy made the comments on Saturday at a news conference.

The soldiers were shot dead as they collected pizza.

Acquitting Colin Duffy, Judge Hart told Antrim Crown Court that he was satisfied that Mr Duffy’s DNA was found on a latex glove tip inside the car and on a seat buckle.

Split

But, he said, the prosecution had failed to link the defendant to the murder plot.

Speaking at the news conference, Mr Duffy defended his innocence.

“Let me state quite categorically here that I had no involvement with what happened at Massereene – no involvement whatsoever – and that has been vindicated in the court,” he said.

“There was no credible evidence to suggest otherwise.”

Shivers was also found guilty of six counts of attempted murder and one of possession of two firearms and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

Mr Duffy faced the same charges and was acquitted on all of them.

Sappers Mark Quinsey, from Birmingham, and Patrick Azimkar, from London, had been due to travel to Afghanistan hours after they were murdered.

The dissident republican group, the Real IRA, claimed responsibility for the attack, which left several others injured.

The Real IRA was born out of a split in the mainstream Provisional IRA in October 1997, when the IRA’s so-called quartermaster-general resigned over Sinn Fein’s direction in the peace process.

GERRY MORIARTY
Irish Times
21 Jan 2012

BRIAN SHIVERS was yesterday convicted of the 2009 dissident republican murders of British soldiers Patrick Azimkar and Mark Quinsey in Antrim. His co-accused, leading Lurgan republican Colin Duffy, was found not guilty of involvement in the murders.

Shivers (46) from Magherafelt, Co Derry, was sentenced to life in prison by Mr Justice Hart, while 44-year-old Mr Duffy walked free to be greeted by his family and supporters at Antrim Crown Court.

Both men were charged with two counts of murder, six of attempted murder and one of possession of two firearms and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

Mr Quinsey (23) and Mr Azimkar (21) died in a hail of gunfire on March 7th, 2009, at the Massereene British army barracks as they collected a pizza delivery at the gates of the base. The Real IRA claimed responsibility.

During the trial, CCTV footage was shown of two gunmen firing from AK47 rifles at soldiers and delivery men at the gates.

The court also heard an audio clip created when one of the gang accidentally recorded himself on a mobile phone in the getaway car. He said: “There was a few dead all right,” and “I have to say boys you were as cool as f**k”.

The prosecution’s case was that Mr Duffy and Shivers either “assisted in the attack” or were involved in a joint enterprise knowing an attack would take place. It contended that DNA linking both men to the getaway car would establish the guilt of Mr Duffy and Shivers.

The DNA evidence was recovered from the Vauxhall Cavalier getaway car, which the dissident gang failed in its attempt to burn.

Mr Justice Hart accepted that DNA from the tip of a finger of a latex glove in the car and from the metal tongue of the front passenger seat belt was Mr Duffy’s.

However, he found that Mr Duffy, who is 5ft 11in (180cm), could not have been one of the gunmen because expert evidence estimated their height at 6ft 3in (191cm) and 6ft 6in (198cm).

Moreover, expert evidence found the voice that was recorded was not Mr Duffy’s and as there were just three people in the car, including the gunmen, Mr Duffy could not have been involved in the attack.

The judge was satisfied that at some stage between the purchase of the car in February 2009 and the attack, Mr Duffy was in the vehicle while wearing latex gloves and that “he must have known that the Cavalier was going to be used by others in the commission and furtherance of a criminal act”.

While there was strong suspicion Mr Duffy “did know what was going to happen”, this was not sufficient by itself to establish guilt.

The judge found Shivers, who has cystic fibrosis, was involved in setting fire to the getaway car.

He was satisfied Shivers’s DNA was found on two matches located in the car, and that these matches were used to light the vehicle. This was strengthened by traces of his DNA found on a mobile phone recovered from the car and on a match found outside the car.

GERRY MORIARTY
Irish Times
21 Jan 2012

PRESIDING JUDGE Mr Justice Hart was one-hour and 45 minutes into his three-hour judgment when he informed high-profile republican Colin Duffy that he was not guilty and was free to go.

Mr Duffy, with his long thick beard acquired while on dirty protest in Maghaberry prison, appeared to be shocked initially, but then his face briefly lit up with satisfaction before quickly returning to a more composed expression.

There was a whoop, some gasps and some clapping from members of his family and supporters sitting on the far side of the court from the families of Patrick Azimkar and Mark Quinsey, the two British army sappers gunned to death in Antrim in March 2009.

Mr Justice Hart, in his last case before his retirement, warned earlier that any such reaction would lead to him clearing those responsible out of the court, which he did in perfunctory manner.

As Mr Duffy left the court the faces of the Azimkars and Quinseys were also a study in shock, but of an entirely contrasting kind, denoted by accompanying tears from some of the group.

The judge then spent more than an hour outlining the case against Shivers – who sufferers from cystic fibrosis and has been told by a doctor he has only three or four years to live – in the end pronouncing him guilty and sentencing him to life in prison, the minimum term he must serve to be decided in about three weeks’ time.

His lawyer, Pat O’Connor QC, was severely rebuked by the judge as he attempted to stop him passing sentence. Mr O’Connor later apologised and explained that because of Shivers’s illness he hoped he would defer sentence so it could be established that the sentenced man would get proper medical support in prison.

“His life is at risk, there is no question, if he’s not given a proper regime,” he said.

Mr Justice Hart informed him that there was never a chance that he could postpone imposing the mandatory life sentence for murder but that his medical report should be passed on to the prison.

Mr Duffy’s supporters had to wait another 90 minutes inside the building as the official formalities of releasing him from remand were processed. When he walked into the foyer at about 2.45 pm there were more cheers and family hugs for Mr Duffy.

Outside, with the reporters and camera crews a group of loyalists had gathered, carefully observed by police. One of them draped a banner over the railings stating: “We support our troops.”

There were no comments for the press from Mr Duffy, as he was bundled into a car that drove off at speed. Loyalists screamed “scum” and “rot in hell” at the departing vehicle. Rather incongruously one loyalist complained loudly about being “fined £300 for shoplifting”, while the likes of Mr Duffy could walk free.

A few miles outside the town in the Dunsilly Hotel, the PSNI and Azimkar and Quinsey families made statements to the press.

The senior investigating officer, Chief Supt Peter Farrar, pledged that the investigation to apprehend the “evil murderers” would continue.

Sapper Azimkar’s mother, Geraldine, said the killing had “cast a dark shadow over our lives”, while Sapper Quinsey’s sister Jaime added that the families had got “a little bit closer to justice” but that there was no closure

By Duncan Gardham
Telegraph.co.uk
20 Jan 2012

**Video onsite

Patrick Azimkar and Mark Quinsey were murdered in March 2009

Police believe that at least two more people, including one of the Old Bailey bombers, were involved in the shooting of two British soldiers at the Massereene barracks in Northern Ireland.

Dissident Republican Brian Shivers, from Magherafelt, Co Derry, was found guilty of the shooting of the two soldiers in March 2009 and the attempted murder of six others.

Shivers, 46, suffers from the genetic lung disorder cystic fibrosis and was told in 2008 that he had five or six years to live. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Colin Duffy, 43, a prominent dissident Republican from Lurgan, Co Armagh, who has been arrested in a string of previous cases connected to the IRA, was acquitted despite evidence that his DNA was found in the getaway car. It was the second time Duffy has been found not guilty of murder

Detective Superintendent Peter Farrar, the Senior Investigating Officer, said: “This investigation is not over. We will continue to pursue all those involved in these evil murders.”

Police believe that Marian Price, the Old Bailey bomber, and one of the sons of notorious Republican terrorist, Dominic “Mad Dog” McGlinchey, were also involved in the shootings.

Sappers Mark Quinsey, 23, from Birmingham and Patrick Azimkar, 21, from London, were killed outside the Massereene barracks in Antrim, and two soldiers and two pizza deliverymen were injured. Two guards escaped unhurt

The soldiers were wearing desert fatigues and were to be deployed to Afghanistan the next day. The Real IRA claimed responsibility.

Old Bailey bomber Marian Price, 57, has been charged with providing a mobile phone for the Massereene gang.

A former IRA hunger striker, she was jailed in 1973 along with her sister Dolours and six others for her role in a republican bombing campaign in London.

Price is a prominent member of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, a political group linked to the Real IRA.

One person died and almost 200 were injured in two car bombs which blew up outside the Old Bailey and Yard in March 1973.

It has also been claimed that police have “reliable” information that one of McGlinchey’s sons was the getaway driver during the murders at the Massereene Barracks.

They have arrested and questioned both Dominic McGlinchey jnr, 34, and his brother Declan, 35, about the killing.

The brothers are sons of the former IRA terrorist and INLA leader who was assassinated in a phone box in the Irish Republic in 1994.

Shivers spoke of his friendship with Dominic McGlinchey jnr, and said McGlinchey had visited his house five to six times the week before the Massereene shooting because he said he was moving to Galway in the Irish Republic.

McGlinchey has indicated his intention to make formal complaints to the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Police Ombudsman over the references about him made in open court.

The weapons used in the Massereene attack appear to be from old IRA stocks that should have been decommissioned.

Key evidence survived because the terrorists abandoned their getaway car before managing to set it on fire.

DNA testing – fiercely contested by the defence – linked Duffy to the tip of a latex glove found in the abandoned getaway car and Shivers to a matchstick and mobile phone.

Judge Anthony Hart, who was sitting without a jury, told the court that he was satisfied that Duffy’s DNA was found on the glove fragment and on a seat buckle but he said the prosecution had failed to link the defendant to the murder plot.

He said: “I consider that there is insufficient evidence to satisfy me beyond reasonable doubt that whatever Duffy may have done when he wore the latex glove, or touched the seatbelt buckle, meant that he was preparing the car in some way for this murderous attack. And I therefore find him not guilty.”

The shooting took place at around 9.40pm on March 7 2009, when four off-duty soldiers from 38 Engineer Regiment went to collect pizzas at the gates of the barracks near Antrim.

As they paid for the take-aways, two gunmen stepped out of green Vauxhall Cavalier parked in a side street and opened fire.

The shootings were the first British military fatalities in Northern Ireland since Lance Bombardier Stephen Restorick was shot dead by a sniper in South Armagh in February 1997.

Two days after the Massereene shooting, PC Stephen Carroll was shot dead in Craigavon, County Armagh as he answered and emergency call. It was the first killing of a police officer in Northern Ireland since 1998.

The killings provoked unique condemnation from both sides of the political divide for the first time in the history of the province.

Independent.ie
Friday January 20 2012

DISSIDENT republican Brian Shivers was convicted today of murdering two British soldiers outside an army base in Northern Ireland. His conviction came after co-defendent Colin Duffy, a high-profile republican, was cleared of the same charges.

Shivers was found guilty at Antrim Crown Court of the killings of sappers Patrick Azimkar, (21), from London, and Mark Quinsey, (23), from Birmingham, who were ambushed by gunmen from the Real IRA at the gates of Massereene barracks in Antrim on March 7 2009.

Judge Anthony Hart told the court that he was satisfied that Duffy’s DNA was found on a latex glove tip inside the car and on a seat buckle but he said the prosecution had failed to link the defendant to the murder plot.

He said: “I consider that there is insufficient evidence to satisfy me beyond reasonable doubt that whatever Duffy may have done when he wore the latex glove, or touched the seatbelt buckle, meant that he was preparing the car in some way for this murderous attack. And I therefore find him not guilty.”

The non-jury trial lasted six weeks. It ended just before Christmas and Mr Justice Hart took four weeks to consider his verdicts.

The soldiers from the 38 Engineer Regiment were about to begin a tour of duty in Afghanistan when they were gunned down in an attack by republican extremists opposed to the Good Friday peace deal of 1998.

The victims, who were wearing their desert fatigues and were within hours of leaving the base, were collecting pizzas at the front gate when they came under fire.

Four other people, including two pizza delivery drivers, were injured in the gun attack.

A green Vauxhall Cavalier car thought to have been used by the gang was found abandoned in a rural location eight miles away.

The gunmen set light to the car, but it did not burn out. DNA evidence recovered from it formed the basis for the trial of the two accused.

It is the second time Duffy has been cleared of murder.

The 44-year-old first hit the headlines 20 years ago after he was cleared of an IRA murder.

An IRA gunman on a bicycle shot former soldier John Lyness, 57, in Lurgan in June 1993.

Duffy, described in court as an unemployed labourer, was subsequently convicted of the murder. But the prosecution case hinged on the testimony of anonymous witnesses who gave evidence from behind a curtain – and in particular on the evidence of a man known only as Witness C.

He turned out to be Lindsay Robb, who was subsequently jailed after police in Scotland smashed a UVF gun-running plot in July 1995.

Following a public campaign for his release, backed by nationalist political leaders here and in Northern Ireland, Duffy’s conviction was quashed because the prosecution could no longer rely on a star witness publicly revealed to be a loyalist paramilitary.

Duffy walked from the Court of Appeal in Belfast a free man and later gave an impromptu press conference outside the gates of the High Court, alleging police wrongdoing and insisting he was innocent.

Three years earlier, Duffy, then aged 22, was caught up in a loyalist gun attack that remains, to this day, shrouded in controversy.

He and two other republicans were reporting to Lurgan’s Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) station to sign in as part of bail conditions on charges of possession of ammunition.

The trio were followed by a red Maestro car, later revealed to be a military intelligence vehicle, before a second car also appeared on the scene.

Two masked men armed with AK-47 assault rifles stepped out of the second vehicle and pursued the three republicans.

Amid a hail of bullets, a friend of Duffy called Sam Marshall was wounded and fell to the ground. One of the gunmen stood over the 31-year-old and levelled the weapon at his head. A witness claimed: “He faced the masked man, and the masked man killed him.”

Duffy escaped the murder bid launched by the loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), but the alleged security force link saw Sinn Fein call for a full inquiry at the time.

Brian Shivers has been found guilty of murdering two British soldiers outside a British army base in Northern Ireland, while earlier the judge found co-accused Colin Duffy not guilty.

RTÉ
20 Jan 2012

Brian Shivers

Brian Shivers has been found guilty at Antrim Crown Court of murdering two British soldiers outside a British army base in Northern Ireland.

A second man, 44-year-old Colin Duffy was earlier found not guilty of the murders.

Shivers, 46, who has cystic fibrosis, denied having any involvement in the Real IRA attack on the barracks in 2009.

The evidence against Shivers centred on DNA which was discovered on a mobile phone and matches linked to the getaway car.

During his trial his lawyers described him as an “unlikely terrorist”.

He told the court he had a limited life span and had been told by a doctor that he only had a few years left to live.

Handing down the judgement today, Mr Justice Anthony Hart said Shivers lied about his actions on the night of the attack.

The judge said the presence of his DNA on the Nokia phone was further evidence of his involvement in the getaway car.

Shivers was sentenced to life in prison.

Sappers Patrick Azimkar from London and Mark Quinsey from Birmingham were killed outside the Massereene barracks on 7 March 2009.

Four others, including two pizza delivery men, were seriously injured in the attack, for which the Real IRA claimed responsibility.

Mr Duffy, from Forest Glade in Lurgan in Armagh, was cleared of all charges by Mr Justice Anthony Harte this morning.

Judge Anthony Hart told the court that he was satisfied that Duffy’s DNA was found on a latex glove tip inside the car – and on a seat buckle – but he said the prosecution had failed to link the defendant to the murder plot.

He said “all the evidence” suggested Mr Duffy was present in the getaway car wearing latex gloves at some point between the time it was bought and the time it was used in the attack.

But the judge said that suspicion that the car was going to be used in a criminal act was not enough to convict Mr Duffy.

The judge described the attack in “ruthless and determined”. He said one of the gunmen had reloaded his weapon at the scene and that a number of the victims were shot as they lay injured on the ground.

Following Mr Duffy’s acquittal, Mr Justice Hart cleared the court of a number of cheering supporters.

Trial finds Duffy was not one of Real IRA gunmen who killed two soldiers outside Northern Ireland army barracks in 2009

Henry McDonald
Guardian
20 Jan 2012

A veteran Irish republican is to walk free from Antrim crown court after a judge dismissed charges against him over the murder of two soldiers.

The double killing of sappers Patrick Azimkar and Mark Quinsey in March 2009 marked the start of a renewed Real IRA terror campaign in Northern Ireland.

Colin Duffy, 44, was due to be freed from court after the judge found that there was insufficient evidence to convict him of the murders.

Duffy has always denied involvement in the fatal shooting, which happened outside the Massereene army barracks in Antrim town three years ago. His supporters denounced the case as a “show trial” designed to take Duffy off the streets.

Much of the crown’s evidence relied on DNA matching profiles.

The prosecution said Duffy’s DNA matched that found on the tip of a latex glove discovered inside the burnt-out Vauxhall used by the killers to flee the murder scene. A forensic scientist told the court the chances of Duffy’s DNA not being matched to that on the glove was less than one in 1bn.

But the judge ruled that there was not enough evidence to link Duffy to the sappers’ deaths. The defence had argued that the DNA evidence may have been contaminated.

Azimkar, 21, from north London, and 23-year-old Birmingham-born Quinsey died in the volley of shots directed at them, other soldiers and two pizza delivery men outside the base.

The victims, who had been due to depart for service in Afghanistan hours after the attack, were wearing desert fatigue uniforms when they were caught in the ambush.

During the trial, distressing CCTV images of the soldiers’ final moments were played to the court.

The trial witnessed the ruthless way in which two Real IRA hitmen dispatched their victims. The scenes were so graphic that some members of the soldiers’ families left the court. Azimkar and Quinsey were hit with up to 60 bullets.

The evidence also revealed a mobile phone call that appeared to show one of the two killers boasting about what they had done at the army base. In a taped message, the court heard a male voice say: “There were a few dead all right.”

Diplock judge Mr Justice Anthony Hart told Antrim crown court that he was satisfied that Duffy’s DNA was found on a seat belt buckle of the car believed to have been used by the gunmen and on a latex glove tip, but that the prosecution had failed to link the defendant to the murder plot.

“I consider that there is insufficient evidence to satisfy me beyond reasonable doubt that, whatever Duffy may have done when he wore the latex glove or touched the seatbelt buckle, meant that he was preparing the car in some way for this murderous attack. And I therefore find him not guilty,” the judge said. He said the prosecution had failed to link Duffy to the murder plot.

Duffy is now due to be released from custody. He has been on remand in Maghaberry prison where he has been on a no-wash dirty protest against his continued incarceration.

News Letter
Friday 20 January 2012

27/3/09 Leading Republican Colin Duffy leaves Larne Courthouse charged with the murders of 2 soldiers Sappers Patrick Azimkar and Mark Quinsey at masserene barrack in Antrim (Photo: Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker)

A HIGH profile republican has been cleared of murdering two British soldiers outside an Army base in Northern Ireland.

Colin Duffy was acquitted at Antrim Crown Court of the killings of Sappers Patrick Azimkar, 21, from London, and Mark Quinsey, 23, from Birmingham, who were ambushed by gunmen from the dissident republican Real IRA at the gates of Massereene barracks in Antrim on March 7 2009.

A decision is awaited on the second defendant, Brian Shivers, 46, from Sperrin Mews in Magherafelt, Co Derry.

Herald.ie
Friday January 20 2012

Two men accused of the murders of two soldiers at a Northern Ireland military base are due to find out the court’s verdict.

Sappers Patrick Azimkar, 21, from London, and Mark Quinsey, 23, from Birmingham, were ambushed by gunmen from the dissident republican Real IRA outside the Massereene barracks in Antrim on March 7, 2009.

Mr Justice Anthony Hart, sitting at Antrim courthouse, will tell Colin Duffy, 44, and Brian Shivers, 46, if he has found them guilty or not guilty of the murders.

Duffy, from Forest Glade in Lurgan, Co Armagh, and Shivers, from Sperrin Mews in Magherafelt, Co Derry, deny the murder charges and six further counts of attempted murder.

The troops from 38 Engineer Regiment were about to begin a tour of duty in Afghanistan when they were gunned down in an attack by the Real IRA group, which opposes the Good Friday peace deal of 1998.

The soldiers, who were wearing their desert fatigues and were within hours of leaving the base, were collecting pizzas at the front gate when they came under fire.

Four other people, including two pizza delivery drivers, were injured in the gun attack.

A green Vauxhall Cavalier car thought to have been used by the gang was found abandoned in a rural location eight miles away.

The gunmen set light to the car, but it did not burn out. DNA evidence recovered from it formed the basis for the trial of the two accused.

By Deborah McAleese
Belfast Telegraph
Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Old Bailey bomber and former IRA hunger striker Marian Price is to stand trial in connection with the murders of two soldiers gunned down outside their Antrim base three years ago.

Price appeared before Belfast Magistrates Court yesterday where a barrister for the Public Prosecution Service said he believed there was a prima facie case against her.

Veteran republican Marian Price

District Judge Mervyn Bates returned Price for Crown Court trial on a date yet to be fixed. The 57-year-old spokeswoman for the 32 County Sovereignty Movement is accused of providing property for the purposes of terrorism.

She is alleged to have provided a mobile phone to the gang responsible for the killings of Sappers Patrick Azimkar and Mark Quinsey at Massereene barracks in Antrim in March 2009.

Unlike previous court appearances, there were no supporters of Price visible yesterday at Laganside Courthouse where there was a heavy police presence for the short preliminary investigation into the case.

After a 10-minute adjournment to speak in private with her barrister Sean Devine, Price, who is also known by her married name Marian McGlinchey, only spoke to say she understood the charge against her and that she did not wish to say anything.

The court was told that hearsay evidence will be introduced against Price in relation to statements she allegedly made to a journalist.

Hearsay evidence will also be used in relation to phone records that will allegedly connect the 57-year-old’s mobile phone to the Real IRA’s claim of responsibility for the Massereene murders.

No submissions were made by Price’s legal team and she was returned to custody to await a date for trial.

Profile

In 1973 Marian Price was jailed for 20 years for her involvement in an IRA bombing campaign in London, alongside her sister Dolours and current Sinn Fein minister Gerry Kelly. She is now a member of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement.

Bobby Sands mural photo
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