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Death sentence for killer of Irish cameraman Simon Cumbers

The attack took place ten years ago in the capital of Saudi Arabia.

Image: PA Archive/Press Association Images

THE MAN WHO killed an Irish cameraman working for the BBC in Saudi Arabia 10 years ago has been sentenced to death, a diplomatic source has told AFP.

Simon Cumbers, 36, was filming near the home of a wanted militant in the Saudi capital when he was killed in the 2004 attack, in which the current BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner was also left paralysed.

The man, reportedly a Saudi, “was sentenced for the murder of Simon Cumbers,” said the source, who was present at Monday’s court hearing.

“As I understand it, there was a whole series of charges,” which also related to the wounding of Gardner, said the source.

Cumbers, originally from Navan, Co Meath, worked as a journalist with organisations such as ITN and Channel 4.

He also ran his own production company with his wife Louise Bevan.

A year after his death, Irish Aid established the Simon Cumbers Media Fund.

“The aim of the Fund is to assist and promote more and better quality media coverage of development issues in the Irish media,” the website reads.

In a statement to RTÉ News, Simon’s father Robert said he had that while he was pleased that a judgement has been handed down, he sympathised with the parents of the murderer, “who must now suffer the tremendous loss that we feel”.

Cumber’s killer was among three men the official Saudi Press Agency reported were sentenced to death on Monday for Al-Qaeda linked crimes.

Simon Cumbers Saudi shooting Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Five others were jailed for between 25 and 30 years for similar offences.

It described as “heinous” the offences committed by those sentenced to death but did not detail their roles or mention the attack on the BBC crew.

The group was convicted of offences that included an attack on the Al-Mahya residential compound in Riyadh 11 years ago. Seventeen people, mostly from Arab countries, were killed.

The group was also found guilty of plotting to storm companies and a residential compound in the Gulf coast community of Khobar to kill foreigners and members of the security forces, SPA said.

- © AFP, 2014, additional reporting by Nicky Ryan

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