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IRA activists cleared of murdering officer

Three suspected IRA members were acquitted of murdering a British Army officer by a German court yesterday.

Donna Maguire, 27, has now been cleared by courts in the Irish Republic, the Netherlands and Germany of serious terrorist charges. But she remains in custody to face further allegations of being involved in a bombing in Germany in 1990.

Ms Maguire, Paul Hughes, 30, and Sean Hick, 33, had been charged with the killing of Major Michael Dillon-Lee in front of his wife at their home in Dortmund four years ago. Although the court found that all three were members of an IRA active service unit, there was nothing to link them to a specific terrorist act. Mr Hughes, who was released earlier this year, was said to have been on a ferry from Ireland to France at the time of Major Dillon-Lee's killing.

Major Dillon-Lee died when a gunman fired 10 shots from a distance of two feet. His death was part of an IRA campaign in Europe in which 11 people died in attacks between March 1987 and June 1990.

As Ms Maguire was led away she embraced Mr Hick and Mr Hughes and said she felt 'great'. She shouted to a friend: 'Tell everyone to have a drink on me.'

Mr Hick, of Glenagary, Co Dublin, and Mr Hughes, of Newry, Co Down, made no comment last night on arriving at Dublin airport.

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