Wednesday, November 4, 1998 Published at 00:02 GMT
Convicted Guardsmen keep their jobs
The scene of the shooting in the nationalist New Lodge
Scots Guardsmen Mark Fisher and James Wright were released on licence in September after serving three years for the murder of Peter McBride in Belfast.
But the Army Board decided on Tuesday the two men's service careers could continue.
Wright and Fisher shot Mr McBride twice in the back while on patrol in a nationalist area of north Belfast.
Their case was brought up time and again in both Houses of Parliament and by several newspapers.
Earlier this year former Tory cabinet minister Lord Tebbit tried to amend the Northern Ireland Sentences Bill to require the early release of the two Guardsmen before any paramilitary prisoners were released.
Colonel Tim Spicer, the men's commanding officer at the time, said: "I am delighted with the Army Board's decision to allow James Fisher and Mark Wright to continue their Army careers.
"It was absolutely disgraceful that they were convicted in the first place."
Independent MP Martin Bell, who last December became patron of the group campaigning for the guardsmen's release, said: "I always thought it was inconceivable that the Army Board should stand by these two during the years of their detention and then abandon them when there were free men."
Ulster Unionist Party security spokesman Ken Maginnis was "absolutely delighted" that the soldiers were to remain in the army.
But Sinn Fein attacked the Army Board decision as "a blatant disregard for the life of Peter McBride".
Speaking for the party, Belfast Councillor Mick Conlon said it legitimised what was in effect "a random and brutal killing".
Earlier this year another British soldier, Private Lee Clegg, had his conviction for the murder of another Catholic teenager in Belfast quashed.
Clegg, now a Lance Corporal, was convicted in 1990 of murdering Karen Reilly, who was killed when troops opened fire on a stolen car in Belfast.