Belfast Telegraph

Massereene tributes damaged: Attack on wreaths commemorating murdered soldiers branded 'sick'

BY CHRIS KILPATRICK

The desecration of floral tributes to two young soldiers murdered by dissident republicans has been called "sick and disgusting".

The wreaths were laid in memory of sappers Mark Quinsey (23) and 21-year-old Patrick Azimkar, who were ambushed by the Real IRA in March 2009.

A group of youths are believed responsible for damaging the tributes after they were asked to move from the front of Massereene Army barracks in Antrim, where the killings took place.

Antrim Ulster Unionist councillor Adrian Watson said he was furious the wreaths were attacked.

"I, like many others, am disgusted that sick individuals would insult the memories of two brave young soldiers in this way," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"I'm just grateful that their families weren't in the town at the time as they are frequent visitors to the site where their loved ones were murdered.

"It's a sick and disgusting act."

Mr Watson said security staff at the barracks had reported being taunted about the deaths.

He said this included fake pizza orders being placed to the barracks and people using a buzzer to mock staff about the killings.

Dressed in desert fatigues, sappers Quinsey, from Birmingham, and Azimkar, from London, walked out of the barracks on March 7, 2009 to collect a pizza delivery. But as the unarmed soldiers walked towards the two delivery drivers they were ambushed.

Two other soldiers and two delivery men, one a Polish national, were badly wounded in the attack.

The wreaths were damaged at around 1.30am last Saturday.

Police appealed for anybody with information to come forward.

BACKGROUND

The wreaths were laid in memory of sappers Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimkar, who were gunned down by the Real IRA in March 2009. The gunmen fired 65 rounds from their AK-47 machine-guns, with one gunman taking time to reload and open fire again from point-blank range.

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