News from Ireland - news from around the 32 counties
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The man convicted of murdering two soldiers at Massereene Barracks in 2009 will die behind bars, his defense team have conceded.
At a tariff hearing at Belfast Crown Court last week Brian Shivers' barrister admitted that there were few redeeming features in the case.
Addressing Justice Hart he said: "There is nothing I can say to mitigate the seriousness of these offences and the consequences for all the victims, especially the bereaved."
He added: "Mr Shivers' life expectancy, according to the most eminent expert in the field, is four to five years.
“This means that effectively he will never see the outside of a prison save perhaps that he needs hospital treatment or compassionate leave in extreme circumstances."
O'Connor said that, in some cases, limited life expectancy can provide 'significant mitigation'.
However he accepted that Justice Hart will be bound to impose a minimum term which is longer than Shivers is expected to live.
“We cannot overcome that disparity," he said.
Shivers (46), from Magherafelt, suffers from cystic fibrosis. He was granted bail on medical grounds after his arrest in 2009 until he was found guilty of murdering Patrick Azimkar and Mark Quinsey at a non-jury trial in Antrim last month.
(Source: or Antrim Guardian)s
Belfast High Court heard last week how pensioners’ homes were targeted in burglaries carried out by an organized gang.
Four raids were carried out on the same day throughout Down and Armagh. The court was told jewelry was stolen from a property in Dromore belonging to a couple in their 60s.
An hour later three men using false identification to claim they were from the Water Service gained access to the home of an 87-year-old woman on the Greencastle Road, Kilkeel. They left after the victim became suspicious and checked their vehicle.
Later the same day an 81-year-old man at Mill Street, Tandragee refused entry to two men claiming they were in the area to rent property.
Less than half an hour after that, a 97-year-old woman let a man into her home at Ballymore Road in the village.
Although hearing difficulties prevented her from understanding the man, the court heard he went into a bedroom before a second man appeared.
When the intruders left the pensioner noticed her handbag and £200 in cash was missing.
Five elephants went for a stroll around town last week and were so impressed they even had a look at the local property market.
The elephants are in town as part of the Courtney Brothers Circus and were brought on an impromptu walkabout last Tuesday afternoon.
Men, women and children were shocked and delighted to see the larger-than-life animals parading through the streets of Carlow town. And there was plenty of laughs as the elephants stopped to have a look in the window of McCormack Properties on Tullow Street, maybe setting their sights on a permanent home here.
(Source: The Carlow Nationalist)
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