Shivers found guilty of Massereene murders

A dissident republican was convicted today of murdering two British soldiers outside an army base in the North.

A dissident republican was convicted today of murdering two British soldiers outside an army base in the North.

Brian 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.

The conviction came after co-defendant Colin Duffy, a high-profile republican, was cleared of the same charges.

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.

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