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Soldiers win compensation for wrongful convictions

(First Edition)

THREE former Ulster Defence Regiment soldiers wrongly convicted of murdering a Catholic have been awarded compensation after seven years' imprisonment, writes Ian MacKinnon.

Yesterday the men released details of the payments made by the Northern Ireland Office in January, as they launched a booklet as part of their campaign to secure the release of a colleague in the group, known as the UDR Four, who was not freed by the appeal court last year.

The three, James Hegan, 42, Winston Allen and Noel Bell, both 29, said they had received an interim settlement as negotiations continue for the pounds 250,000 they are said to be demanding. The Northern Ireland Office, while refusing to disclose the amount, said the total payment was short of the pounds 40,000 some had claimed.

The campaign has written to all MPs to raise the profile of Neil Latimer, 30, who is serving life for the murder of Adrian Carroll, 24, a Catholic shot in Armagh in 1983. Last week, the Royal Ulster Constabulary announced that five detectives were to be prosecuted in connection with the investigation into the murder.