Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Sister’s moving letter to soldier brother Mark Quinsey ‘murdered by cowards’

Mark Quinsey, one the two soldiers killed in the attack at Massareene Barracks
Mark Quinsey, one the two soldiers killed in the attack at Massareene Barracks
Cengiz Azimkar , one the two soldiers killed in the attack at Massareene Barracks
Flowers at the scene of the fatal shootings outside Massereene army base
Flowers left at the entrance to Massereene Army Base
Flowers are left at the entrance to Massereene Army Base
A field dresing lies in the bloodsoaked road at the entrance to Massereene Army Base
Graffiti daubed on walls in West Belfast by CIRA supporters showed that all is not well in the republican camp and that dissident republicans are not supportive of latest Sinn Fein and IRA moves. This message on the Falls Road in West Belfast was painted over shortly after the picture was taken...
Mark Quinsey, with his mother Pamela (left) and and sister Jaime (right)
Flowers and cards left outside Massereene Army Base
A woman holds back tears during a prayer service for the soldiers killed at Massereene British Army Barracks in Antrim, Northern Ireland, Sunday, March 8, 2009. Two British soldiers were shot dead late Saturday and four injured by dissident Irish Republican terrorists, the first killing of British troops in Northern Ireland since 1997. Its callousness, in targeting soldiers and civilians alike, appeared calculated to inflame community tensions and undermine Northern Ireland's Catholic-Protestant administration. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
The front entrance to the Massereene army barracks in Antrim, west of Belfast, Northern Ireland, is seen Sunday, March, 8, 2009 after two British soldiers were shot to death and four other people wounded in a drive-by ambush that politicians blamed on IRA dissidents. Suspected IRA dissidents who opened fire on British soldiers and pizza delivery men outside an army base shot their victims again as they lay wounded on the ground, police said Sunday. Two soldiers died and four other people, including two men delivering pizzas, remained hospitalized with serious wounds following Saturday night's attack at the entrance to Massereene army barracks in Antrim, west of Belfast. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
The Army commander in Northern Ireland, Brigadier George Norton, after speaking to the media outside Massereene Army base,
File pictures of republican dissident group, the Real IRA at a 'training camp' in the border counties of Northern Ireland taken in January 2008
A police officer patrols outside the Massereene army barracks in Antrim, west of Belfast, Northern Ireland, Sunday, March, 8, 2009 after two British soldiers were shot to death and four other people wounded in a drive-by ambush Saturday that politicians blamed on IRA dissidents. Suspected IRA dissidents who opened fire on British soldiers and pizza delivery men outside an army base shot their victims again as they lay wounded on the ground, police said Sunday. Two soldiers died and four other people, including two men delivering pizzas, remained hospitalized with serious wounds following Saturday night's attack at the entrance to Massereene army barracks in Antrim, west of Belfast. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Police forensic officers examine the scene at the Massereene army barracks in Antrim, west of Belfast, Northern Ireland, Sunday, March, 8, 2009 after two British soldiers were shot to death and four other people wounded in a drive-by ambush that politicians blamed on IRA dissidents. Suspected IRA dissidents who opened fire on British soldiers and pizza delivery men outside an army base shot their victims again as they lay wounded on the ground, police said Sunday. Two soldiers died and four other people, including two men delivering pizzas, remained hospitalized with serious wounds following Saturday night's attack at the entrance to Massereene army barracks in Antrim, west of Belfast. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Aerial showing Masserene army base and it's front entrance
File pictures of republican dissident group, the Real IRA at a 'training camp' in the border counties of Northern Ireland taken in January 2008
Police forensic officers examine the scene at the Massereene army barracks in Antrim, west of Belfast, Northern Ireland, Sunday, March, 8, 2009 after two British soldiers were shot to death and four other people wounded in a drive-by ambush that politicians blamed on IRA dissidents. Suspected IRA dissidents who opened fire on British soldiers and pizza delivery men outside an army base shot their victims again as they lay wounded on the ground, police said Sunday. Two soldiers died and four other people, including two men delivering pizzas, remained hospitalized with serious wounds following Saturday night's attack at the entrance to Massereene army barracks in Antrim, west of Belfast. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Police forensic officers examine the scene at the Massereene army barracks in Antrim, west of Belfast, Northern Ireland, Sunday, March, 8, 2009 after two British soldiers were shot to death and four other people wounded in a drive-by ambush that politicians blamed on IRA dissidents. Suspected IRA dissidents who opened fire on British soldiers and pizza delivery men outside an army base shot their victims again as they lay wounded on the ground, police said Sunday. Two soldiers died and four other people, including two men delivering pizzas, remained hospitalized with serious wounds following Saturday night's attack at the entrance to Massereene army barracks in Antrim, west of Belfast. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
File pictures of republican dissident group, the Real IRA at a 'training camp' in the border counties of Northern Ireland taken in January 2008
A police officer talks on his phone at the Massereene army barracks in Antrim, west of Belfast, Northern Ireland, Sunday, March, 8, 2009 after two British soldiers were shot to death and four other people wounded in a drive-by ambush Saturday that politicians blamed on IRA dissidents. Suspected IRA dissidents who opened fire on British soldiers and pizza delivery men outside an army base shot their victims again as they lay wounded on the ground, police said Sunday. Two soldiers died and four other people, including two men delivering pizzas, remained hospitalized with serious wounds following Saturday night's attack at the entrance to Massereene army barracks in Antrim, west of Belfast. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Security at the entrance to the Massereene army barracks in Antrim
Police Forensic officers examine the scene at the Massereene army barracks in Antrim, west of Belfast, Northern Ireland Sunday, March, 8, 2009 after two British soldiers were shot to death and four other people wounded in a drive-by ambush that politicians blamed on IRA dissidents. Suspected IRA dissidents who opened fire on British soldiers and pizza delivery men outside an army base shot their victims again as they lay wounded on the ground, police said Sunday. Two soldiers died and four other people, including two men delivering pizzas, remained hospitalized with serious wounds following Saturday night's attack at the entrance to Massereene army barracks in Antrim, west of Belfast. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Police Forensic officers examine the scene at the Massereene army barracks in Antrim, west of Belfast, Northern Ireland Sunday, March, 8, 2009 after two British soldiers were shot to death and four other people wounded in a drive-by ambush that politicians blamed on IRA dissidents. Suspected IRA dissidents who opened fire on British soldiers and pizza delivery men outside an army base shot their victims again as they lay wounded on the ground, police said Sunday. Two soldiers died and four other people, including two men delivering pizzas, remained hospitalized with serious wounds following Saturday night's attack at the entrance to Massereene army barracks in Antrim, west of Belfast. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
A security officer patrols the entrance to the Massereene army barracks in Antrim, west of Belfast, Northern Ireland Sunday, March, 8, 2009 after two British soldiers were shot to death and four other people wounded in a drive-by ambush that politicians blamed on IRA dissidents. Suspected IRA dissidents who opened fire on British soldiers and pizza delivery men outside an army base shot their victims again as they lay wounded on the ground, police said Sunday. Two soldiers died and four other people, including two men delivering pizzas, remained hospitalized with serious wounds following Saturday night's attack at the entrance to Massereene army barracks in Antrim, west of Belfast. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
A police officers patrols at the Massereene army barracks in Antrim, west of Belfast, Northern Ireland Sunday, March, 8, 2009 after two British soldiers were shot to death and four other people wounded in a drive-by ambush that politicians blamed on IRA dissidents. Suspected IRA dissidents who opened fire on British soldiers and pizza delivery men outside an army base shot their victims again as they lay wounded on the ground, police said Sunday. Two soldiers died and four other people, including two men delivering pizzas, remained hospitalized with serious wounds following Saturday night's attack at the entrance to Massereene army barracks in Antrim, west of Belfast. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison) (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Local parish members hold a prayer service at Massereene army barracks in Antrim, west of Belfast, Northern Ireland Sunday, March, 8, 2009 after two British soldiers were shot to death and four other people wounded in a drive-by ambush that politicians blamed on IRA dissidents. Suspected IRA dissidents who opened fire on British soldiers and pizza delivery men outside an army base shot their victims again as they lay wounded on the ground, police said Sunday. Two soldiers died and four other people, including two men delivering pizzas, remained hospitalized with serious wounds following Saturday night's attack at the entrance to Massereene army barracks in Antrim, west of Belfast. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison) (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson speaks to the media in Antrim, Northern Ireland, Sunday, March, 8, 2009. The First Minister was giving his views on the deaths of two British soldiers shot late Saturday along with four injured, by dissident Irish Republican terrorists, in the first killing of British troops in Northern Ireland since 1997. Its callousness, in targeting soldiers and civilians alike, appeared calculated to inflame community tensions and undermine Northern Ireland's Catholic-Protestant administration. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Britain's secretary of state for Northern Ireland, Shaun Woodward speaks to the media at the Massereene army barracks in Antrim, west of Belfast, Northern Ireland, Sunday, March, 8, 2009 after two British soldiers were shot to death and four other people wounded in a drive-by ambush Saturday that politicians blamed on IRA dissidents. Suspected IRA dissidents who opened fire on British soldiers and pizza delivery men outside an army base shot their victims again as they lay wounded on the ground, police said Sunday. Two soldiers died and four other people, including two men delivering pizzas, remained hospitalized with serious wounds following Saturday night's attack at the entrance to Massereene army barracks in Antrim, west of Belfast. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
A man leaves flowers near Massereene army barracks, in Antrim, west of Belfast, Northern Ireland, Sunday, March, 8, 2009. Suspected IRA dissidents opened fire on British troops and pizza delivery men outside a Northern Ireland army base, killing two soldiers and wounding four other people. Police said Sunday the attackers fired on their victims again as they lay wounded on the ground. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
A man leaves flowers near Massereene army barracks, in Antrim, west of Belfast, Northern Ireland, Sunday, March, 8, 2009. Suspected IRA dissidents opened fire on British troops and pizza delivery men outside a Northern Ireland army base, killing two soldiers and wounding four other people. Police said Sunday the attackers fired on their victims again as they lay wounded on the ground. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Secretary of State Shaun Woodward leaves the Massareen Army Base in Antrim today after meeting colleagues of the murdered soldiers.
First Minister Peter Robinson and Willie McRea at the scene of the attack
First Minister Peter Robinson at the scene of the attack
Representatives from the main churches who arrived at scene to pay respect
Representatives from the main churches who arrived at scene to pay respect
A masked Real IRA , (RIRA), colour party stand over the coffin of murdered dissident republican on 18/10/00
Parishioners pay respect to the families and loved ones of those affected.
Parishioners from the main churches arrived at scene to pay respect to the families and loved ones of those affected.
An abandoned car (believed to be a getaway car) on the Ranaghan Road a few miles from Massereene army base after last night's fatal shootings.
Two cars in a sealed off area outside the entrance to Massereene army base after the fatal shootings.
Forensics team searches the area
.An impromptu multi-denominational prayer services was held this afternoon at the cordon around Massareen Army Base in Antrim in memory of the murdered soldiers and the injured.
.An impromptu multi-denominational prayer services was held this afternoon at the cordon around Massareen Army Base in Antrim in memory of the murdered soldiers and the injured.

The sister of a soldier murdered by dissident republicans has described his killers as “cowards”.

Speaking during the funeral service of Sapper Mark Quinsey, who was shot dead outside Massereene Barracks in Antrim on March 7, his sister Jaime said she was struggling to come to terms with his murder.

Reading a letter she had written to her brother, the 25-year-old said: “It breaks my heart to think that I will never see you again. What’s happened to you is just so hard for me to understand.

“You were the most caring, respectable young lad I knew. You did not deserve what those cowards did to you.”

Many of the mourners wore small yellow ribbons in memory of the soldier and the vicar at the church, the Rev Eve Pitts, invited the congregation to applaud his achievements in life.

Earlier, a spontaneous round of applause broke out in the street as the hearse approached the church.

Around 200 people lined both sides of Highters Heath Lane as the coffin was carried by six pall-bearers from 38 Engineer Regiment past a guard of honour formed by members of the Royal British Legion and an eight-man firing party from Sapper Quinsey's regiment.

Army chaplain Rev Colin Butler told the service that Sapper Quinsey (23) of 25 Field Squadron, 38 Engineer Regiment, had been eager to begin to fulfil his huge potential at the time of his death.

Describing the barracks shooting as an act of utter wastefulness, the clergyman added: “The news of Mark's death, and his comrade and friend Patrick, will be for many of us something we'll remember for ever.

“For those of us old enough, emotions to do with the Northern Ireland of the past were reawakened.

“For those who are too young to have such a connection, it must be utterly bewildering.

“What did the perpetrators of this wicked event really think it would achieve? Since it was a deliberate inci

dent, conceived and planned, what did they seek? More deaths, more events like today?

“With the killing of Constable Stephen Carroll perhaps they thought they'd begun their damnable sequence of misery.”

But, the chaplain added, the events which came after the killings had followed the opposite course.

“Whilst it is very difficult to speak of good coming out of Mark's death, I know that his family are pleased at the rejection of these gunmen and their ways.

“We have witnessed an unprecedented coming together in the whole island of Ireland, north and south, in a way that speaks mightily of the people's desire to have peace.”

The chaplain also paid tribute to Sapper Quinsey, who was described by his senior officer as selfless, willing and humorous.

He said: “His parents told me and want it said that he couldn't have been a better son. His sister says that he wasn't just a brother but a best friend.

“He was to them all ‘simply irreplaceable'.”

In a statement read out prior to the funeral by Lieutenant Colonel Roger Lewis, Commanding Officer of 38 Engineer Regiment, Sapper Quinsey's family described how much the soldier was looking forward to his imminent tour of duty in Afghanistan.

They said: “Mark was right at the very heart of our family and we thought he'd be there forever.

“It is so hard for us to understand why this happened to him.

“Mark loved life. He was fun, popular and had a brilliant sense of humour, attracting a large circle of friends who he was very close to.

“He was looking forward to going to Afghanistan — he wanted to prove what he was made of.

“He has been cheated of the opportunity to serve his country, which is what he so desperately wanted to do.”

Lt Col Lewis added: “Today is primarily about the Quinsey family saying farewell to Mark.

“It is also a day on which the wider regimental and military family can share with pride some of the zest, energy and fun he brought to the lives of his friends and colleagues.

“The regiment and I are devastated to have lost such a fine and promising soldier.”

The congregation was told of the soldier's love of fixing things and that he had always been destined to be a craftsman.

He was a keen angler and was described as Birmingham's answer to Steve Irwin because of his fascination with reptiles and nature.

Inside the church, Lt Col Lewis read out tributes from Sapper Quinsey's comrades, who described how the popular soldier would tell jokes in a “thick Brummie accent”, had a great sense of humour and loved partying.

Sapper Quinsey, along with Sapper Azimkar, also of 25 Field Squadron, 38 Engineer Regiment, were killed as they took delivery of pizzas in front of the main gates of their barracks.

They were wearing desert fatigues ahead of leaving for Afghanistan on operations.

Another two soldiers and two pizza delivery men were injured in the attack. The Real IRA has claimed responsibility.

The funeral of Sapper Azimkar (21) from Wood Green, north London, is due to take place tomorrow.

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