Kevin Crilly, 60, from South Armagh in Northern Ireland was cleared yesterday of murdering the undercover British Army soldier Captain Robert Nairac in Northern Ireland 33 years ago.

Crilly has denied murdering the Grenadier Guardsman since the murder occurred in May 1977.

Nairac was abducted from a bar he had earlier daringly walked into alone in Drumintee near the border with the Republic before he was eventually shot dead.

Soon after the murder, Crilly traveled to the US, where he lived for 27 years under his birth name, Declan Power.

Yesterday, Crilly was cleared of all five charges against him at Belfast Crown Court, charges which had included kidnapping and false imprisonment, as well as murder after he was accused by prosecutors of dropping off the killer.

In a report published in The Daily Mail Justice Richard McLaughlin said: "The prosecution has not proved beyond reasonable doubt the state of knowledge or intention necessary to transform the transporting of Liam Townson (who was convicted of the murder) by Crilly to an unspecified place at an unspecified time into a knowing participation in a potential murder. For these reasons I find the accused not guilty."

The judge said the evidence did not prove where Captain Nairac was at the time Crilly went to collect Townson or when he dropped him off, nor does the evidence establish when or by whom the decision was made to kill him.

"I have concluded that the prosecution has not proved Crilly was a participant in the abduction," the judge added.