Mother of soldier killed in Northern Ireland says court decision to overturn verdict is scandalous

Geraldine Azimkar spoke out against the ruling by the Court of Appeal in Belfast

The mother of a British soldier shot dead in Northern Ireland has described the  decision to quash the conviction of the only person jailed for her son’s murder as “scandalous”.

Geraldine Azimkar, whose Sapper son Patrick, 21, was killed along with comrade Mark Quinsey, 23, outside the Massareene Amy Barracks in Antrim, spoke out against the ruling by the Court of Appeal in Belfast, which concluded verdicts in the original non-jury trial were unsafe.

Mrs Azimkar said she and Patrick’s father, Mehmet Azimkar, had lost all faith in the criminal justice system after the 25-year sentence handed to Brian Shivers, the only man convicted of their son’s murder, was overturned.

Speaking from the family home in London, Mrs Azimkar said: “It seems scandalous that this terrible murder happened and the attempted murders happened and it looks like no one is going to be held to account for it. We feel very let down by the criminal justice system. It does not seem to work for the victims of crime. The whole thing is awful from start to finish.”

Patrick Azimkar and Mark Quinsey were off duty when they were gunned down while collecting a pizza delivery at the gates to their barracks in 2009. The attack by men shooting automatic rifles from a nearby car also injured two pizza delivery drivers and two more soldiers. The shooting was claimed by the Real IRA. The men were the first British military fatalities in Northern Ireland since February 1997.

In the original trial last January, the presiding judge Mr Justice Anthony Hart, who has since retired, found that Shivers set fire to the getaway car used in the attack. He was satisfied that DNA on burnt matches found at the scene belonged to the defendant.

But today the Court of Appeal ruled this act alone was not sufficient to prove Shivers was a secondary party in the murders, for which he had been sentenced to 25 years.

The summary of judgement stated: “The Chief Justice (Sir Declan Morgan) said the court did not accept that a person who provides assistance after a murder with full knowledge of what has happened becomes guilty of murder and that there was no authority to support such a proposition.”

Shivers’ lawyers argued that while the prosecution had presented the case against him as murder as part of a joint enterprise, the judge had convicted him of murder as a secondary party. Under the second definition, the defence argued, setting fire to the car after the event was not enough in itself to find him guilty.

In an emotional statement, Mrs Azimkar made it clear she did not blame the police or Public Prosecution Service. “It is the failure of the criminal justice system, which is very highly loaded in favour of the defendant and therefore against the interests of victims and their loved ones,” she said.

Shivers will remain in custody until the Public Prosecution Service decides whether to seek a retrial.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence