Ex-IRA man gets 20 years for 1981 shooting
Published 06/04/2011 | 14:16
A former IRA man who attempted to murder a soldier in a 1981 ambush has been jailed for 20 years.
Gerry McGeough, 52, was convicted earlier this year of trying to kill former postman Samuel Brush as he carried out his mail run.
McGeough, who left the North on the run after the shooting, was arrested in March 2007 as he left a polling station in Co Fermanagh where he was standing as a republican candidate.
Mr Justice Stephens, sitting at Belfast Crown Court, imposed the 20-year jail term, saying there is a clear need to deter other terrorists.
"There should be a clear message to others that no matter how long is the time that elapses and no matter what changes occur in a terrorist's way of life, that condign punishment will be imposed for committing such offences once they have been brought to justice," the judge said. "There is a continuing and compelling need to deter all other potential terrorists."
McGeough's victim is now a councillor in Dungannon, Co Tyrone, with the Democratic Unionist Party, but at the time was a member of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) and was delivering a letter.
He had just put a letter through the letterbox of a house north of Aughnacloy, Co Tyrone, when he saw a masked gunman stepping out from an adjacent shed, turn in his direction and shoot at him. A bullet proof jacket saved his life and he returned fire with his own personal protection pistol, wounding the gunman.
McGeough, from Carrycastle Road in Gortmerron, Dungannon, is married with children aged 10, eight, six and two. He has a serious heart condition.
He was jailed for 20 years for attempted murder, 12 years for possessing firearms with intent and seven years and four years for two separate charges of IRA membership.
The non-jury court ruled that the sentences should run concurrently. McGeough's co-accused, Vincent McAnespie, was acquitted of the charges against him.