Northern Ireland

Massereene murders trial: Gun used in previous attacks

Colin Duffy (left) and Brian Shivers
Image caption Colin Duffy (left), 43, from Lurgan, and Brian Shivers, 46, from Magherafelt, deny any role in the March 2009 murders

One of the guns used to murder two soldiers outside Massereene barracks in Antrim had been used in two previous gun attacks, a court has heard.

Forensic scientist Jonathan Greer was testifying at the the trial of Colin Duffy, 43, and Brian Shivers, 46.

The pair deny murdering Sappers Patrick Azimkar, 21, from London and Mark Quinsey, 23, from Birmingham, outside the Antrim base in March 2009.

Mr Greer said one of the guns used had fired 26 rounds, the other 37.

He said an AK assault rifle normally held 30 in the magazine and therefore it led him to believe that at some stage one of the guns was reloaded.

He said the attack lasted 34 seconds and the bullets used were of a make and date similar to those used in Provisional IRA shootings.

He said they were stamped with the code NMY82, indicating they were made by a company in the former Yugoslavia for use by that country's military.

Mr Greer referred to the firearms as 'gun one' and 'gun two'.

He said tests had shown that gun two had been used in dissident republican gun attacks on police stations in Randalstown and Londonderry's Stand Road in 2004. No-one was injured in those incidents.

Friends tried to save victim

Earlier, Belfast Crown Court, sitting in Antrim, was told that friends of one of the soldiers killed in the Massereene attack kept encouraging him to stay alive on the way to hospital.

Sappers Quinsey and Azimkar were shot by the Real IRA as they collected pizzas outside the base.

Sapper Quinsey's mother wiped tears from her eyes as she listened to prosecuting QC Paul Ramsey detail the efforts to save her son.

Image caption Patrick Azimkar (left) and Mark Quinsey were murdered in March 2009

Ambulance man Thomas McCauley described in his statement read to the court how he found a soldier being treated just outside the base and of the decision made to rush him to the nearby Antrim Area Hospital.

He said that, as his colleagues drove the ambulance, he travelled in the back with the sapper and other soldiers, one of whom battled to stem blood from a neck wound. The soldier, he added, also had an army dressing on another wound.

Mr McCauley said that the soldier's friends kept encouraging him as they raced to the hospital where he learned his patient had been Sapper Quinsey who subsequently died from his wounds.

'Pandemonium'

Also on Wednesday, civilian security guard David Sloan, who was working at Massereene barracks, said he had been in the guard room at the barracks when the attack began.

When describing the shooting, Paul Ramsey QC put it to Mr Sloan: "Was it pandemonium at this stage?"

Mr Sloan replied "yes".

The witness was also asked by Barry McDonald QC, the defence for Mr Duffy, if he had been able to make out how many people were in the back seat of the car believed to be the getaway vehicle used by the gunmen.

Mr Sloan said he had not.

Mr Duffy from Lurgan and Magherafelt man Mr Shivers also deny six charges of attempted murder and one of possession of guns and explosives.

The trial is expected to last up to five weeks.

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