Soldier who shot colleagues is released

A FORMER Irish solider who killed three of his colleagues while on duty in the Lebanon in 1982 has been released from prison in Antrim.

Michael McAleavey was released yesterday after serving 27 years of a life sentence.

McAleavey was just 21 years old when, on October 27, 1982, he shot dead three of his fellow soldiers while on peacekeeping duties in Lebanon.

Initially, McAleavey claimed that Corporal Gregory Morrow, Private Thomas Murphy and Private Peter Burke had been shot by Lebanese gunmen after coming under fire.

However, he later admitted full responsibility and said he had “snapped” due to a combination of dehydration and heat exhaustion. In a full military court martial that lasted almost one month, he was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

After spending time at various jails in the Republic, McAleavey was later transferred to Maghaberry Prison in Co Antrim in 2007.

Originally from west Belfast, he made the appeal to be transferred there on humanitarian grounds in order to be closer to his family.

The soldiers’ association PDFORRA disapproved of the transfer of McAleavey claiming he should serve his full sentence in the Republic.

Yesterday, a spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Prison Service confirmed that Michael McAleavey had been released following directions from the Independent Parole Commission in the North.

It was decided that McAleavey should be released as he met all the conditions for his release.

He was freed on a life licence, meaning that should he breach the conditions of his release he will be immediately recalled to prison.

It is believed that one of these conditions is that he does not speak to the media.

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