Brian Shivers cleared of murdering British sappers in Massereene Barracks pizza ambush
British sappers Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimkar were gunned down as they collected pizza outside Antrim army barracks in 2009
Published 03/05/2013 | 13:16
Brian Shivers, the man accused of killing two British soldiers at Massereene barracks has been acquitted.
Shivers was today found not guilty of the double murder by Belfast Crown Court judge Mr Justice Deeney.
He also acquitted the 47-year-old of the attempted murders of four other soldiers and and two pizza delivery men, as well as possessing the automatic assault rifle which was used in the shooting incident outside Massereene Barracks in Antrim on March 7, 2009.
Shivers was also found not guilty of a charge of assisting the killers by burning the car they used to get away from the bloody scene.
It can now be revealed that this is the second time Shivers has been tried for the murders.
In 2011 during a trial where he was co-accused with prominent republican Colin Duffy, he was convicted of the killings and attempted murders and jailed for life - but those convictions were quashed by the Court of Appeal which also ordered a retrial.
Duffy, meanwhile, was acquitted by then-trial judge Mr Justice Hart.
Finding Shivers not guilty of all charges, Mr Justice Deeney said that the prosecution had not discharged their duties in disproving all other possible innocent explanations for Shivers' DNA profile to have been found on two partially burnt matches inside the car, another inside the car and a mobile phone.
As such, he was not sure beyond reasonable doubt and so was finding him not guilty of all the charges.
Mr Shivers, dressed in a blue jacket and cream trousers, showed no emotion when Mr Justice Deeny said he was free to go.
The judge said that when he considered if the prosecution had proved the defendant's guilt beyond reasonable doubt the answer was "clearly no".
He said the Crown contention that Mr Shivers had played a key role in helping the gunmen get away and burn the attack vehicle was not convincing.
The judge asked why hardened terrorists would choose Mr Shivers, who suffers from cystic fibrosis and was engaged to a Protestant woman, as an associate.
"He was an unlikely associate for this hardened gang to rely on," he said.