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Ex-soldier exhausts legal remedies in compensation bid following murder charge

Published 14/03/2016

Colin Worton spent 30 months in custody
Colin Worton spent 30 months in custody

A former soldier acquitted of involvement in the murder of a Catholic man in Northern Ireland 27 years ago has exhausted all legal remedies, the Justice Minister said.

Colin Worton from south Armagh spent two-and-a-half years in custody after being charged in connection with the 1983 murder of Adrian Carroll. He was denied compensation in 2010 despite damage to his reputation and employment prospects.

He claimed police had obtained a confession from him under duress. However a judge later found no evidence of police wrongdoing and upheld a decision not to compensate him.

Minister David Ford said he sympathised with the ex-serviceman.

"But he is in no different position from many another person that was charged and found not guilty.

"He has, as far as I can see, exhausted all legal remedies."

Mr Worton, who spent 30 months in custody between 1983 and 1986, claimed officers threatened him with up to 20 years in prison unless he confessed to a role connected with the killing.

He and four other ex-members of the Ulster Defence Regiment known as the UDR Four, were charged in connection with Mr Carroll's murder in Armagh in November 1983.

His co-defendants were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. Three later had their convictions quashed on appeal after judges found interview notes had been altered. The fourth, Neil Latimer, was released under the Good Friday Agreement.

Newry and Armagh Ulster Unionist Assembly member Danny Kennedy raised the matter in the Assembly.

He said: "In very real terms it changed his life. It affected his career and it damaged his reputation, all unjustly because he was never ever convicted.

"The charges were withdrawn from him and yet he has paid a very high personal price in terms of his potential career and personal life."

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