AN ANTRIM COURT has found Brian Shivers guilty of the murder of two British soldiers at the Massereene barracks over two years ago.
His co-accused Colin Duffy was found not guilty by the presiding judge earlier today. He is expected to walk free from the courtroom shortly.
Both had been charged with shooting dead 23-year-old Mark Quinsey and 21-year-old Patrick Azmikar on 7 March 2009.
They had denied all murder and attempted murder charges, as well as those relating to the possession of guns and explosives.
This is the third time that Duffy has been charged with murder.
Sky News reported that the 44-year-old was been found not-guilty after a six-week long, non-jury trial because the judge said not enough evidence against him was provided.
The prosecution failed to link the defendant to the murder plot, said Justice Anthony Hart.
“There is insufficient evidence to satisfy 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,” the judge said, according to U.TV.
He was referring to two pieces of key evidence that police found his DNA on in the getaway car which failed to burn out after the attack.
Referring to his decision about Shivers, Justice Hart said he was satisfied that the prosecution had proved he had set fire to the Cavalier getaway car at Ranaghan Road and, therefore, found him guilty on each count of the indictment, reports U.TV.
According to reporter Sharon O’Neill who was tweeting from the courtroom, the judge said that it could not be proven if Duffy was in the getaway car after the attack.
A number of other people were wounded, including two delivery men who were bringing pizza to the soldiers at the time of the attack.
The soldiers’ unit was due to be deployed to Afghanistan the day after the two young men were gunned down.
During the six-week trial, the court heard that the gunmen shot the soldiers when they were on the ground to ensure they were dead. Throughout the trial, CCTV footage was shown to judge Anthony Hart and an audio file of the 999 call played.
Police have now released a CCTV still from seconds before the shooting.
The screengrab shows the soldiers head out to the delivery cars just seconds before the gunmen appear. Azimkar is the figure at the bottom of the image, closest to the darker vehicle. Quinsey is the third man from the bottom of the image. They were already dressed in their desert gear ahead of deployment to Afghanistan.
A recording of the 999 call made from the barracks has also been released.
More than 60 shots were fired at about 9.40pm on the night of the murder. Four soldiers, two security guards and two delivery men were also shot but they survived their injuries.
A getaway car was found abandoned seven miles from the scene and DNA tests linked some items found in the vehicle to the men standing trial.
A latex glove tip was linked to Duffy, while Shivers’ DNA was found on a matchstick and a mobile phone, the court was told.
The non-jury trial ended last month but judgement was reserved until today.
U.TV reports that the gun attack was claimed by the Real IRA just two days after PSNI Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde warned that the threat from dissident republicans had reached a critical level in the area.