Sunday 18 March 2018

Former INLA man jailed for soldier murder

A former Irish republican paramilitary has been jailed for life after he admitted the murder of a British soldier outside an Army recruitment office 18 years ago.

Sergeant Michael Newman, 34, was gunned down by the Irish National Liberation Army, an IRA splinter group, in Derby city centre on April 14, 1992.

Declan Duffy, 36, who was brought to England from the North to face the charge, pleaded guilty to murder when he appeared at Stafford Crown Court. He was jailed for life with a minimum of 24 years.

The INLA, which announced it was disbanding last year, admitted responsibility for Sgt Newman's killing at the time and even wrote to his family explaining that he had been shot as part of its fight with the British government.

Duffy, a former leader of the group who was named as a suspect along with two other INLA men, said last year he had decided to speak to the police after renouncing his links with the INLA,

He said: "I would never have spoken to the police in the past but my war is over and there are things I have to get off my chest."

"This man was a family man and it is regrettable that he was killed. I would be happy to meet with any member of his family to explain to them the circumstances of why soldiers at that time were being targeted.

"The war is now over and I acknowledge the hurt caused to Irish and English people."

Duffy, who was jailed in Ireland last year after admitting INLA membership, also claimed his decision to renounce links with the group had led to him receiving death threats.

Fellow INLA member Joseph Magee was jailed in 2004 after pleading guilty to Sgt Newman's murder. Anthony Gorman, who is also accused of the shooting, is fighting extradition from the Irish Republic.

Jailing Duffy, Mrs Justice Macur described the murder as a "heinous crime" committed for political reasons.

She said: "The death of Mr Newman that afternoon caused horror, panic, anger and anxiety, not merely for his family and his friends but also for the public.

Press Association

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