Former IRA sniper found dead in Monaghan

Bernard McGinn was involved in death of last British soldier killed before peace deal

Bernard McGinn, an IRA sniper convicted of killing the last British soldier to die before the Good Friday peace agreement, has been found dead in Co Monaghan. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA Wire.

Bernard McGinn, an IRA sniper convicted of killing the last British soldier to die before the Good Friday peace agreement, has been found dead in Co Monaghan. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA Wire.

Sun, Dec 22, 2013, 09:20

Gardaí are investigating the death of a man who confessed to his part in the murder of the last British soldier to die before the Good Friday peace agreement.

Bernard McGinn, aged in his 50s,was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder after telling investigators of his involvement in the killing of Lance Bombardier Stephen Restorick in Armagh in February 1997.

The conviction was overturned after an appeal court held that he had not been properly cautioned by police before making his confession.

He told detectives he rode “shotgun” in the car during the sniper attack, according to a transcript of the appeal judgement. Convictions for possessing guns and conspiracy to murder were upheld.

McGinn’s body was discovered yesterday at a house in Monaghan at about 2pm. A post mortem is expected to be held.

In 1999 McGinn was given three life sentences for the murder of L/Bdr Restorick, shot in the back with a powerful weapon at an army checkpoint in Bessbrook.

The village is in a border area notorious for IRA attacks, where troops were often helicoptered around because it was too dangerous for them to go by road.

McGinn was also sentenced to a total of 490 years for a catalogue of terrorist offences including making the bombs destined for Canary Wharf, the Baltic Exchange and Hammersmith Bridge in London.

Under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, he was released months after his conviction - he laughed at his sentences as he was led to the cells following the guilty verdict.

McGinn was also found guilty of murdering two other British soldiers. They were Lance Bombardier Paul Garrett in South Armagh in 1993 and former Ulster Defence Regiment soldier Thomas Johnston in 1978.

McGinn admitted to police that he made explosives north and south of the border on an almost daily basis: “like a day’s work”.

He and three other men were also found guilty of conspiring to murder a person or persons unknown in April 1997.

PA

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