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Patrick Azimkar and Mark Quinsey Photo by: BBC

IRA murder trial begins with footage of slain soldiers

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Patrick Azimkar and Mark Quinsey Photo by: BBC

The trial of two Northern Irish men charged with murder and attempted murder opened yesterday with shocking video footage showing the moment two British soldiers were gunned down by two masked attackers.

The footage detailed how 21 year old Patrick Azimkar from London and 23 year old Mark Quinsey from Birmingham were ambushed by two dissident republican Real IRA members outside the Massereene Army barracks in County Antrim on March 7, 2009.

However well-known republican Colin Duffy, 43, from County Armagh and Brian Shivers, 46, from County Derry deny the charges of murder and attempted murder.

The two men's trial at Antrim Crown Court opened with the violent scenes caught on CCTV as the dual murders were replayed to the hushed courtroom.

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According to a report in The Irish Times rosecuting attorney Terence Mooney told the court that the troops had become vulnerable to attack from their habit of collecting pizza at the gate of the military base.

Mooney screened a video that showed five soldiers, all just hours from being deployed to Afghanistan, walking out of the base to meet the pizza delivery cars.

But then two masked men appeared and immediately opened fire on both the soldiers and the fast-food workers. Moments later the attackers turned and took aim at the wounded men who lay on the ground.

Mooney later played an audio clip of a voice message accidentally left on a mobile phone found in the getaway vehicle.

'The message is chilling and self-explanatory,' Mooney reportedly told the judge, Justice Anthony Hart.

The court also heard an audio clip of a male voice concluding: 'There were a few dead all right.' Later a voice added: 'Have to say boys you were as cool as f***.'

The parents of the two murdered men were in court as the hearing opened. The grieving families sat on one side of the accused men and the opposite side sat relatives of the defendants.

The case continues.

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