Belfast Telegraph

Murder probe: Co Antrim Royal Irish Regiment soldier found dead at Army barracks

Soldier was born in Ballymoney

By John Mulgrew and Richard Vernalls

A murder probe has been launched following the death of Co Antrim soldier at his Army barracks in England.

Ballymoney-born Royal Irish Regiment soldier, Corporal Geoffrey McNeill, aged 32, was found dead at the Army's Clive Barracks in Tern Hill in Shropshire at about 9am on Saturday.

A 23-year-old man - and fellow serviceman - was arrested on suspicion of murder, according to West Mercia Police.

Corporal McNeill's body was found on Saturday at the barracks.

He was described as a much loved son and brother.

One of his three brothers - Jason McNeill -  paid tribute to him.

"Geoff was born in Ballymoney, Northern Ireland and dedicated his life to the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment," he said.

"He served his country with the highest degree of honour and dedication.

"He was a much loved son, brother, uncle and friend and touched the lives of all who had the pleasure of meeting him.“He was a much loved son, brother, uncle and friend and touched the lives of all who had the pleasure of meeting him.

"The family would like to give thanks for the continued support of the army, police and all who knew and loved Geoff.  Our love for him remains as strong as ever.  Rest in peace soldier.  Faugh-a-Ballagh.”

A post mortem was carried out over the weekend but further tests have been ordered to try to establish the cause of death, a police spokesman said.

The coroner has also been informed.

Detective inspector Steve Tonks, of West Mercia Police, said: "We have made an arrest in connection with the death.

"The investigation is in its early stages and extensive inquiries are continuing.

"A post mortem conducted by a Home Office pathologist was held yesterday and further examination and tests are being carried out to help establish the cause of death.

An MoD spokesman said: "Our thoughts are with the family and friends affected at this difficult time.

"We are assisting West Mercia Police with their investigation and it would be inappropriate for us to comment any further at this time."

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