Duffy acquitted

LURGAN republican Colin Duffy has been cleared of involvement in the Massereene gun attack while his co-accused Brian Shivers, Magherafelt, has been found guilty.

On Friday, Diplock judge Mr Justice Anthony Hart told Antrim Crown Court: “I am satisfied that the prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt that Shivers set fire to the Cavalier at Ranaghan Road and I therefore find him guilty on each count on the indictment.”

While the judge was satisfied Duffy’s DNA was found on a seat belt buckle of the car used by the Massereene gunmen and on a latex glove tip, he ruled that the prosecution had failed to link the 44-year-old 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,” Mr Justice Hart said.

“And I therefore find him not guilty.”

It’s the second time Duffy has been cleared of murder, after his conviction over the IRA killing of a former soldier nearly 20 years ago was later quashed.

Mr Justice Hart made his ruling on Friday morning, after four weeks of deliberations.

Duffy and Shivers had both been charged with the murders of Sappers Mark Quinsey, 23, and Patrick Azimkar, 21, who were gunned down as they collected a pizza delivery outside Massereene barracks in March, 2009.

The soldiers were due to be deployed to Afghanistan early the following morning.

Both accused also faced further charges over the attempted murders of five other people caught up in the shooting - two soldiers, two pizza delivery men and a civilian security guard - and with possession of a weapon and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

Duffy and Shivers both denied all the charges against them throughout their trial.