Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Soldier's mother shocked by verdict

Geraldine and Mehmet Azimkar, parents of Sapper Patrick Azimkar

The mother of a soldier shot dead outside Massereene barracks spoke of her disbelief at the judge's verdict.

Geraldine Azimkar said: "We are just in shock. It is like Patrick's life did not matter."

Mrs Azimkar, whose 21-year-old son was gunned down alongside comrade Mark Quinsey, 23, as they collected pizza from the gates of the Co Antrim base hours before they were due to deploy to Afghanistan in March 2009, said she felt traumatised again.

"I do not know how we will try and pull ourselves out of this. We already had to go through it four years ago when we saw the other man (Colin Duffy) walk free from court. And now after four years of waiting we see another man walk free. Anybody who has had their child murdered will know it is a very difficult thing to deal with," she said.

Speaking from her home at Wood Green in north London, Mrs Azimkar revealed that news of Brian Shivers' acquittal had been broken to the family through their dedicated police liaison officer. She said they had not been prepared for the outcome.

"We weren't expecting it. It was a complete shock. If the people who did this do not bear the burden of what they have done, then the burden falls to us and we are already trying to bear the burden of the loss of our child," added Mrs Azimkar.

Shivers, 47, from Co Londonderry, was acquitted of two counts of murder, six counts of attempted murder, one of possession of firearms and ammunition with intent to endanger life and one of assisting offenders after a retrial in Belfast.

Last January high profile republican Colin Duffy from Lurgan, Co Armagh, was acquitted of all charges connected to the attack. Mrs Azimkar said she and her husband Mehmet had become disillusioned with the judicial system.

Earlier this year Pamela Brankin, the grief-stricken mother of Mark Quinsey, died suddenly in Birmingham. Friends and relatives claimed the 51-year-old never got over the death of her Royal Engineer son.

Mrs Azimkar said: "Poor Mark's mum already died from a broken heart and the other men who were at the scene that terrible night are also still suffering. It does not get easier. This was a dreadful, dreadful atrocity and not one person has been held to account. It is not that the police did a poor investigation. It was good, it was professional."

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