DUFFY CLEARED OF MURDER FOR THIRD TIME..AS SHIVERS GETS LIFE; Killer Will Die in Jail for Sappers' Attack Insufficient Evidence to Nail Co-Accused

Article excerpt

Byline: MAURICE FITZMAURICE

A DISSIDENT republican given just a few years to live was jailed for life yesterday for the murder of two soldiers.

Brian Shivers, 46, was found guilty of killing sappers Patrick Azimkar, 21 and 23-year-old Mark Quinsey at Massereene barracks in March 2009.

Because he suffers from terminal cystic fibrosis, he could die behind bars.

But his co-accused, prominent dissident republican Colin Duffy left Antrim Crown Court a free man after the judge said prosecutors had failed to prove he was involved in the Real IRA gun attack.

The 44-year-old was first convicted and then acquitted on appeal of the IRA murder of a UDR soldier 20 years ago.

He was accused of the murders of two policemen in 1997 but the charges were dropped before trial.

There were gasps in court and cheers outside as Duffy, 44, was cleared of the AK47 attack. Justice Anthony Hart said DNA evidence showed Duffy was in the Opel Cavalier getaway car at some stage and was wearing latex gloves "in order to avoid leaving any traces in the car that might identify him".

That, the judge said, shows that Duffy knew the car was to be used in a criminal act.

However he added: "There is insufficient evidence to satisfy me beyond reasonable doubt that whatever Duffy may have done when he wore the latex glove or touched a seatbelt buckle meant he was preparing the car in some way for this murderous attack.

BOTCHED "And therefore I find him not guilty."

Shivers, however, was found guilty after DNA was left on two matches used in a botched attempt to burn the vehicle.

His DNA was also found on a pay-as-you-go mobile phone in the car which was topped up a day before attack, having not been credited since January the previous year. The judge also said Shivers lied about his whereabouts.

He added: "I am satisfied that the prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt that Shivers set fire to the Cavalier at Ranaghan Road and I find him guilty on each count." As Duffy, who has grown a beard since being on remand, left court he was hugged by relatives before pausing to talk to friends and family and make a phonecall.

He refused to speak to the media as he left. However earlier his sister Mandy Duffy said: "There'll not be much celebrating after what happened to Brian."

Duffy was found not guilty at 11.48am, while Shivers' verdict came just before 1pm.

There were ugly scenes as he emerged from the court as a group of protesters, some carrying loyalist paraphernalia, hurled abuse at Duffy and his supporters. …