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Brian Shivers Photo by: Google Images

Dissident Republican Brian Shivers cleared of murdering two British soldiers at Massereene barracks

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Brian Shivers Photo by: Google Images

A Derry man who was originally convicted of the murder two British soldiers outside an army barracks in Northern Ireland, walked free from court on Thursday, after being acquitted in a retrial.

Dissident republican Brian Shivers, 47, of Co Derry, had denied any involvement in the Real IRA ambush in which Mark Quinsey, 23, and Patrick Azimkar, 21, died in March 2009 outside the Massereene army barracks in Co. Antrim.

Two other soldiers and two pizza delivery men were also seriously injured in the attack.

In January 2011 Shivers was convicted of the murders of the two men and ordered to serve at least 25 years in jail.

That judgement was quashed in January of this year by Northern Ireland's Court of Appeal and Shivers was ordered to face a retrial. Defence lawyer Patrick O'Connor QC had claimed the retrial would represent an "abuse of process".

Mr Justice Donnell Deeny delivered his reserved judgment after the non-jury retrial at Belfast Crown Court this week.

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 there was no way to be sure if DNA found on a telephone and matches linked to the double murder, could not have been placed there by “a quite innocent touching.”

Judge Deeny questioned why terrorists would choose Shivers, who suffers from cystic fibrosis and was engaged to a Protestant woman, as an associate.

Dressed in a blue jacket and cream trousers, Shivers showed no emotion when he was told he was free to go.

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