The mother of a soldier shot dead outside Massereene barracks tonight spoke of her disbelief at the judge’s verdict.
Brian Shivers, 47, of Co Londonderry, had denied all involvement in the gun attack outside the Antrim barracks in which sappers Mark Quinsey, 23, and Patrick Azimkar, 21, died.
Two other soldiers and two pizza delivery men were seriously injured in the shooting in March 2009.
Judge Mr Justice Donnell Deeny delivered his reserved judgment after the non-jury retrial at Belfast Crown Court.
Shivers was acquitted of two counts of murder, six counts of attempted murder, one of posession of firearms and ammunition with intent to endanger life and one of assisting offenders.
Geraldine Azimkar said: “We are just in shock. It is like Patrick’s life did not matter.”
Mrs Azimkar, whose 21-year-old son was gunned down alongside comrade Mark Quinsey, 23, as they collected pizza from the gates of the Co Antrim base hours before they were due to deploy to Afghanistan in March 2009, said she felt traumatised again.
“I do not know how we will try and pull ourselves out of this. We already had to go through it four years ago when we saw the other man (Colin Duffy) walk free from court. And now after four years of waiting we see another man walk free. Anybody who has had their child murdered will know it is a very difficult thing to deal with,” she said.
Speaking from her home at Wood Green in north London, Mrs Azimkar revealed that news of Brian Shivers’ acquittal had been broken to the family through their dedicated police liaison officer.
She said they had not been prepared for the outcome.
“We weren’t expecting it. It was a complete shock. If the people who did this do not bear the burden of what they have done, then the burden falls to us and we are already trying to bear the burden of the loss of our child,” added Mrs Azimkar.
Last year, Shivers was convicted of the murders of the two soldiers and ordered to serve at least 25 years, but that judgment was quashed earlier this year by Northern Ireland’s Court of Appeal. He was then ordered to face a retrial.
High-profile republican Colin Duffy, from Lurgan, Co Armagh, was a co-accused at the original trial at Antrim Crown Court.
He was acquitted of all charges.