Massereene murder trial opens

 

Video footage played today at the trial of two men for the murders of two soldiers showed the moment the servicemen were gunned down by masked attackers.

Sappers Patrick Azimkar (21) from London, and Mark Quinsey (23) from Birmingham, were ambushed by the dissident republican Real IRA outside the Massereene Army barracks in Antrim, Northern Ireland, on March 7 2009.

High-profile republican Colin Duffy (43) from Forest Glade in Lurgan, Co Armagh, and Brian Shivers (46) from Sperrin Mews in Magherafelt, Co Derry, deny charges of murder and attempted murder.

Their trial opened at Antrim Crown Court today and the packed room fell silent as CCTV images of the murders were played.

As Terence Mooney QC opened the Crown’s case, he told how the habit of collecting pizzas at the gates of the base had left the troops vulnerable to attack.

He played the footage which showed five soldiers, wearing desert combat gear and only hours away from being deployed to Afghanistan, walk out of the base to meet pizza delivery cars.

Two masked men then appeared, opening fire on the soldiers and the fast-food workers, before pausing to aim at what the prosecution said was wounded men who lay on the ground.

Mr Mooney later played an audio clip of a voice message said to have been accidentally left on a mobile phone found in a green Vauxhall car, believed to have been the getaway vehicle.

“The message is chilling and self-explanatory,” he told the judge, Mr Justice Anthony Hart.

The court then heard an audio clip of a male voice: “There were a few dead all right.”

A later excerpt added: “Have to say boys you were as cool as f***.”

The parents of the murdered men were in court and wore remembrance poppies.

As the hearing opened, Mrs Azimkar and a tearful Mrs Quinsey comforted each other.

The grieving families sat on one side of the accused men.

On the opposite side sat relatives of the defendants.

Shivers, who is on bail because he suffers from cystic fibrosis, wore jeans and a dark coat.

Prison officers escorted Duffy into the court.

He is being held on remand at Maghaberry prison in Co Antrim where he is involved in a so-called “no wash” protest.

Duffy, who wore a long beard as a result, smiled and gave a thumbs-up to his family as proceedings began.

PA