History > 2009 > UK > 2009 > Northern Ireland (I)
10 February 2009
DNA 'links Colin Duffy with killing
of Northern Ireland
March 27, 2009
From Times Online
David Sharrock, Ireland Correspondent
A prominent republican and former Provisional IRA prisoner was linked by DNA
evidence to the murder of two soldiers by the Real IRA outside a Northern
Ireland Army base earlier this month, a court heard today.
Colin Duffy was remanded in custody charged with the murders of Sappers Mark
Quinsey, 23, of Birmingham, and Patrick Azimkar, 21, of London, who were shot
dead at the gates of Massereene Barracks on Saturday, March 7, while they
collected pizzas from delivery men.
The District Judge at Larne Magistrates' Court said Duffy should reappear via
video link at Antrim Magistrates' Court on April 21. But Duffy’s solicitor Pat
Vernon said that a challenge would be made to refusal to grant bail in Belfast
High Court on Monday.
Duffy, from Lurgan, Co Armagh, was also charged with five counts of attempted
murder - of three soldiers and two delivery men - and possession of arms and
ammunition with intent.
As he arrived in the crammed courtroom, handcuffed and flanked by two armed
officers, he smiled and nodded to his wife and family.
High-level security was also in place outside the court and on roads throughout
the seaside town. A small group of loyalists stood outside the court.
Detective Chief Inspector Jeffrey Smyth told the court that DNA evidence found
in the car used by the killers in their getaway linked Duffy to the killings.
He said: "This is not trace elements - this is a full DNA profile. It was inside
a latex glove found on the floor of the Vauxhall Cavalier."
But under questioning from Duffy’s counsel, he conceded that only the tip of the
glove had been found.
Mr Smyth said the DNA profile was the only forensic evidence which has so far
connected Duffy to the shootings but added: "There are over 1,000 exhibits in
He said exhibits were being examined in both Northern Ireland and in England but
other results had so far come back negative.
Objecting to bail, he said there were three main strands to the prosecution case
– the forensics, CCTV and witness evidence.
He said a witness could place the getaway car outside the barracks in the
seconds before the attack.
Questioned by barrister Mark Mulholland, acting for Duffy, the detective said he
objected to bail on the grounds that Duffy may reoffend, interfere with
witnesses or abscond because of the potentially lengthy sentence he faced if
He confirmed that Duffy had remained silent during interview except to deny
involvement in the crime.
Mr Smyth said in his objection to bail: "These are very serious matters. If
convicted he stands to be given a very substantial tariff which may serve as an
inducement to abscond. If given bail there is a strong likelihood he may
reoffend or interfere with witnesses."
Mr Mulholland argued that District Judge Robert Alcorn should grant bail on the
grounds that Mr Smyth had not given sufficient basis for it to be denied and
remand in custody would be a contravention of Duffy's human rights.
Mr Mulholland added that the evidence presented by the police against his client
However, the judge said he was not persuaded to grant bail even under the most
As he was led from the dock, one of his children shouted “Take care Dad” and
there were cheers and a round of applause from more than two dozen supporters,
mainly women, sitting in the public gallery.
Outside, loyalists jeered and shouted abuse. One man punched the police vehicle
in which Duffy was travelling as it drove away.
Duffy was arrested on March 14 and questioned extensively after police were
twice given seven-day detention orders.
His lawyers launched a legal challenge in the High Court against his detention
and he was freed, along with five other suspects, on Wednesday after Northern
Ireland Lord Chief Justice Sir Brian Kerr ruled that his continued detention was
While the other five were released, Duffy was re-arrested as he was leaving
Antrim police station.
36 hours later he was charged with the murders and attempted murders.
DNA 'links Colin Duffy
with killing of Northern Ireland soldiers', Ts, 27.3.2009,
Peace protests across Northern Ireland
• 'No going back' to Troubles, placards declare at vigils
• Police in republic increase border security
Wednesday 11 March 2009
Henry McDonald, Esther Addley and Haroon Siddique
This article was first published on guardian.co.uk at 16.18 GMT on Wednesday 11
It was last updated at 16.18 GMT on Wednesday 11 March 2009.
Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Northern Ireland today for
silent vigils to protest against the murders of two soldiers and a policeman by
Carrying placards reading "No Going Back", more than 2,000 people gathered in
front of Belfast City Hall. As a lone bagpiper played a lament, the crowd fell
silent for five minutes.
Former paramilitary convicts stood alongside mothers cradling children. Some
people wept while others shook hands and offered condolences to police.
Aidan Kane, a paramedic who attended the rally with his six-year-old boy on his
shoulders, said he was a Catholic who grew up in an area "where the police were
the enemy". But he said: "If my wee lad here wants to be a policeman when he
grows up, I'd be proud."
John Batch, 49, told Reuters: "What has happened over the last 10 years should
not be surrendered. I grew up through the Troubles in Belfast. I don't want that
for my children."
Other vigils were held in Londonderry, Newry, Downpatrick and Lisburn.
Speaking outside Belfast City Hall, Peter Bunting, the assistant general
secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions which helped organise the
protests, said people were delivering a strong message that they did not want a
return to bloodshed.
"This lunchtime thousands of citizens are gathering to collectively share
moments of silence," he said.
"The trade union movement stands together with all citizens in solidarity to
prevent any derailment of the peace process. The callous attacks of the past few
days were an assault on every citizen who supports peace.
"Here in Belfast, and in Newry, and in Londonderry, and at spontaneous
gatherings across our land, workers and their families are making clear their
abhorrence at these murders and the direct threat to the peace process."
Security on the Irish border was tightened today in response to the upsurge in
Additional checkpoints have been set up on the frontier after a security review
by the Garda Siochana. The assistant garda commissioner, Mick Feehan, who heads
the force's northern region, has instructed local commanders to increase
checkpoints and mobile patrols on the border with Northern Ireland.
Fears of loyalist paramilitary retaliation over Real IRA and Continuity IRA
attacks subsided today after the Ulster Defence Association ruled out any
The UDA leader, Jackie McDonald, praised the Sinn Féin MP and deputy first
minister, Martin McGuinness, for his strong condemnation of the killers.
"The IRA blew the two communities apart during the Troubles but the Real IRA and
Continuity have actually united the people like never before," the UDA chief
said at today's rally in Belfast.
"There is no place in this society for these people [the dissident republicans]
but it's up to the police alone to deal with them," McDonald said. "People on
the loyalist side are determined not to fall into any more traps. That's what
groups like the Continuity IRA and Real IRA want us to do. There is no reason to
go there again and nobody wants to go back. Loyalism has matured an awful lot in
The UDA commander revealed that the organisation's political allies, the Ulster
Political Research Group, held talks this morning with the Sinn Féin mayor of
Belfast, Tom Hartley.
Hartley later confirmed that the ground-breaking meeting between himself and the
UDA's political voice had taken place, with the aim of calming fears within the
loyalist community. He said loyalists had a "very important" role to play in
The other main loyalist paramilitary organisation, the Ulster Volunteer Force,
has already made clear its opposition to any return to violence in response to
the recent attacks.
During prime minister's questions, Gordon Brown said the murderers should not be
allowed to destroy the achievements of the peace process and said today's vigils
showed "the unyielding resolution to say with one voice that the peace that the
people of Northern Ireland are building no murderers should ever be allowed to
The prime minister sent his condolences to the families and friends of Sappers
Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimkar, who were shot dead on Saturday, and PC Stephen
Carroll, who was killed on Monday. David Cameron, the Conservative leader, said
the most important thing was that everyone in the province worked with the PSNI
to ensure the "callous killers" were caught, charged and convicted.
The pope joined in the condemnation of the killings, describing them as
"abominable acts of terrorism" during an address to pilgrims in St Peter's
square, Vatican City.
Feehan said that despite the murder of Carroll, there were no plans to withdraw
a small number of Garda officers who were working on secondment at the PSNI as
part of an exchange programme between the two police forces.
A man, aged 37, and a 17-year-old youth remained in custody today after being
arrested in the Craigavon area yesterday. They were being questioned about the
Continuity IRA murder of Carroll, the first member of the PSNI to die at the
hands of terrorists.
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland's first and deputy first ministers have left for the
US after twice postponing their trip because of the murders. Peter Robinson and
Martin McGuinness are hoping to persuade US investors to set up businesses in
Northern Ireland. During their tour, the DUP and Sinn Féin MPs will attend a St
Patrick's Day celebration at the White House hosted by Barack Obama.
Peace protests across
Northern Ireland, G, 11.3.2009,
Gordon Brown vows to bring Northern Ireland murderers to
Prime minister says the people of Ulster are determined to 'stand up to the
evil of criminal violence'
Wednesday 11 March 2009
Deborah Summers, politics editor
This article was first published on guardian.co.uk at 12.44 GMT on Wednesday 11
It was last updated at 14.21 GMT on Wednesday 11 March 2009.
Gordon Brown today vowed that no stone would be left unturned in tracking
down the murderers of two soldiers and a policeman in Northern Ireland.
The prime minister said he had personally spoken to Sir Hugh Orde, the chief
constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, to ensure he had all
resources necessary to "bring criminal murderers to justice" and combat the
As he joined with the Tory leader, David Cameron, to condemn the killings at
prime minister's question time, Brown said: "Out of tragedy we are seeing a
unity which shows the determination that while a few murderers may try to
disrupt the process, the whole of the people of Northern Ireland want not only
to see justice done but to send a message that the political process is here to
stay and is working."
Brown said today's peace marches in Northern Ireland showed the "defiance and
determination" of people to "stand up to the evil of criminal violence".
Both leaders also criticised the disruption of a homecoming parade of British
soldiers by anti-war protesters in Luton yesterday.
"There is a right to freedom of speech but there is not a right to disruption
and to public disorder," Brown said.
Cameron, returning to PMQs two weeks after the death of his son Ivan, condemned
the "callous killers" who shot the two soldiers on Saturday and the policeman in
Insisting Northern Ireland was not "staring into the abyss", he said there ought
to be a "measured" response to the killings.
The most important thing was that everyone worked with the police to ensure the
killers could be found and convicted, Cameron said.
Gordon Brown vows to
bring Northern Ireland murderers to justice, G, 11.3.2009,
Police officer shot dead in Ulster attack
March 10, 2009
From The Times
David Sharrock, Ireland Correspondent
A police officer was shot dead in a republican stronghold in Northern Ireland
last night. He was the third member of the security forces to be killed in 48
The dangerous and sudden escalation in violence threatened to draw a
counter-reaction from loyalist paramilitaries and destabilise the peace process.
“We are tonight staring into the abyss,” said Dolores Kelly, a member of the
nationalist party the SDLP who sits on Northern Ireland’s policing board. “I
would appeal to people to pull back.”
Two police officers were responding to a call about “suspicious activity” near a
school in the Lismore Avenue area of Craigavon, Co Armagh, at about 9.45pm when
their patrol cars were attacked. The gunmen were reported to have fired from
wasteground. One officer was killed, the second injured.
The estate is reputed to harbour supporters of a splinter group of the
Provisionals styling themselves the Continuity IRA. More shots were reported
later. Police carrying machineguns were guarding the scene, with helicopters
Last week MI5 raised the threat level in the Province from “substantial” to
“severe”. On Friday night Hugh Orde, the Chief Constable of Northern Ireland,
announced that the Armed Forces Special Reconnaissance Regiment was being
drafted in to watch suspected dissident republican terrorists.
On Saturday two unarmed soldiers were shot dead as they took delivery of pizzas
at Massereene Barracks in Co Antrim. Two other soldiers and two pizza
deliverymen were injured. The Real IRA, a splinter group of the Provisional IRA
opposed to power-sharing, said it had carried out the murders. It made no
apology for shooting and wounding the civilians because, it said, they were
“collaborators of British rule in Ireland”.
The officer is the first member of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI)
to be killed by terrorists since the force took over from the Royal Ulster
Constabulary in 2001.The last police officers to be murdered by the Provisional
IRA were Roland Graham and David Johnston. The community constables had been on
foot patrol in Lurgan in 1997 when gunmen ran up and shot them in the backs of
Sinn Féin was swift to condemn last night’s shooting, having waited 14 hours to
respond to Saturday’s incident. John O’Dowd, the local Sinn Féin Assembly
member, said that it was an attack on the peace process and would do nothing to
advance Irish republican goals. He said that the officers were responding to a
call from a member of the public. “It is not clear whether it was a hoax or
not,” he added.
Loyalist paramilitaries have so far resisted reaction, despite numerous attacks
against police officers over the past 18 months. But while the deaths of
soldiers is regarded as an attack on the British state, the murder of a local
police officer may be interpreted as an attack on the local unionist community.
Fresh graffiti in the area in a loyalist area of nearby Lurgan yesterday said:
“An eye 4 an eye — back 2 war”.
Earlier in the day while on a visit to Northern Ireland, Gordon Brown insisted
that the peace process was unshakable. On a hastily arranged trip, he visited
the scene of Saturday’s shooting and met local political leaders. He said:
“These are callous murderers, these are terrorists who showed no sympathy
towards people who were dying . . . these people have got to be hunted down. The
political process will not and can never be shaken. In fact, the political
process is now unshakeable.”
Since the start of last year, dissident groups have mounted 18 gun and bomb
Mr O’Dowd said of last night’s killing: “This is an attack on the peace process.
It is wrong and it is counter-productive and I would extend my condolences to
the dead man’s family. As with what happened in Antrim over the weekend, we
condemn it. Whoever carried out this shooting was not doing so to advance Irish
republican or democratic goals. They have no strategy to deliver a United
“This is a time for strong political leadership and cool heads. It is a time for
all political parties and the two governments to recommit to the principles
which have underpinned the peace process and delivered the stability of recent
David Simpson, Democratic Unionist Party MP for the Upper Bann constituency,
where the shooting took place, said: “What we have seen is a deliberate and
sustained effort by terrorist murderers to try and drag Northern Ireland back to
the worst days of Ulster’s past. I utterly and completely condemn the criminals
responsible for this latest outrage and I hope that the vermin responsible for
it are brought to justice immediately.
“Events such as the murders at Massereene and this latest terrorist atrocity
show us all the need for a swift, co-ordinated and ruthless security and
A spokesman for the PSNI said that officers were called out to Lismore Manor at
about 9.45pm by a member of the public. “Two police vehicles arrived in the
area. Both officers alighted from the vehicles. It appears gunshots were fired
at them. One officer was struck by gunfire and subsequently he has died from his
Police officer shot dead
in Ulster attack, NYT, 10.3.2009,
Brown holds security talks in Northern Ireland
PM arrives at Massereene barracks
to meet province's most senior army officer for security talks about terror
Monday 9 March 2009 09.18 GMT
This article was first published on guardian.co.uk at 09.18 GMT on Monday 9
It was last updated at 12.09 GMT on Monday 9 March 2009.
The prime minister, Gordon Brown, arrived at Massereene
barracks in Northern Ireland early this morning to hold talks about military
security with the province's most senior army officer.
Brown flew in to Aldegrove airport outside Belfast and was driven to the 38
Engineers Regiment base, the scene of the attack at the weekend claimed by the
Flanked by motorcycle outriders, a convoy of armoured black Range Rovers
carrying the prime minister arrived just before 8.20am.
They drove through the entrance where the two young soldiers were gunned down on
Saturday evening as they came out to collect pizzas.
The convoy passed the accumulating pile of flowers left by wellwishers just
outside the entrance to the barracks.
Brown was joined by the Northern Ireland secretary, Shaun Woodward, and the
province's security minister, Paul Goggins, for the meeting with Brigadier
George Norton, the Northern Ireland garrison commander.
They are discussing measures to improve security at the remaining army bases as
the threat of attack from dissident republican groups deepens.
The attack follows an incident in which a 300lb (136kg) bomb was abandoned last
month in Castlewellan, County Down. The device had been prepared for use against
another army barracks.
After the meeting at the Massereene base in Antrim, the prime minister will be
driven to Stormont to hold talks with the leaders of the power-sharing devolved
He will meet Peter Robinson, the first minister and leader of the Democratic
Unionist party, and Martin McGuinness, the Sinn Féin politician who is deputy
A Downing Street spokeswoman said that there were no plans for the prime
minister to visit the injured in hospital.
Brown holds security
talks in Northern Ireland, G, 9.3.2009,