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BBC Northern Ireland's Annita McVeigh
Peter McBride's father has demanded a meeting with Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon
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Paul O' Connor, Pat Finucane Centre
"We are absolutely gutted"
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BBC Radio Ulster's Audrey Carville
Conservative MSP Phil Gallie believes the decision is "absolutely right"
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Friday, 24 November, 2000, 23:18 GMT
Anger over Scots Guards decision
Mark Wright (left) and James Fisher are to stay in army
Mark Wright (left) and James Fisher are to stay in army
The family of a Belfast teenager shot dead by soldiers in 1992 has demanded a meeting with Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon.

The demand follows Friday's confirmation by the Ministry of Defence of the decision to allow the two Scots Guards convicted of the murder to continue to serve with the army.

Scots Guardsmen Mark Wright and James Fisher each served six years of a life sentence for the murder of 18-year-old Peter McBride.

The victim's father, Peter McBride Snr., said the family wanted an explanation of why Fisher and Wright were being allowed to continue in their jobs despite their murder convictions.

Peter McBride Senior says the family will not give up its fight
Peter McBride Senior: "Family will not give up fight"
The family plans to pursue "all political and legal routes open to them" and say they have no intention of giving up their campaign

We don't want revenge, we want justice. You just can't murder somebody and get a pat on the back," he said.

His wife, Mrs Jean McBride, said: "If they think I'm going to give up they have another thing coming. They think Peter's life was worth nothing, shoot him in the back and forget him. We will fight on till these two murderers are kicked out."

"Tony Blair should be ashamed of himself. The anniversary of Peter's birthday is next week and if they think I brought my son into this world to have him murdered and forgotten then they just don't understand what it is to be a mother."

This, in my view, gives a very negative message to the people of Northern Ireland, given that soldiers who have used or misused drugs have been dismissed

Jim McDonald
The decision was also criticised by the independent military complaints assessor, Jim McDonald, who said he would be seeking a full explanation from the army, as to why it was retaining two murderers while it sacked soldiers for taking drugs.

"I am dismayed at the decision of the Army Board in confirming the retention of Fisher and Wright who have been convicted of murder," he said.

"This, in my view, gives a very negative message to the people of Northern Ireland, given that soldiers who have used or misused drugs have been dismissed."

Following the decision by the Army Board, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Mandelson said: "This decision was entirely a matter for the Army Board.

"I have, however, suggested to the Secretary of State for Defence, Geoff Hoon, that, given the circumstances, it would be inappropriate for Fisher and Wright to serve in Northern Ireland and he has agreed."

A British Army review board reinstated the guardsmen and they were permitted to resume their careers in their regiment, following their release from prison on licence in 1998.

PM petitioned

However, Mr McBride's mother won a Northern Ireland High Court case in September last year overturning the decision to reinstate the two guardsmen in their regiment.

The McBride family had also urged the prime minister to support their campaign to have Guardsmen Fisher and Wright discharged from the army.

During their trial in 1995, Fisher, then 24, from Ayrshire and Wright, then 19, from Arbroath claimed that they thought Mr McBride was carrying a coffee jar bomb when they stopped him.

They shot him twice in the back as he ran away from their patrol. However, no weapon was found after the shooting.

The original army board ruled that the men had made an "error of judgement", and that they should therefore escape dishonourable discharge on the grounds of "exceptional circumstances".

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See also:

24 Nov 00 | Northern Ireland
Teenager's killers to stay in army
05 Jun 00 | Northern Ireland
Army criticised over guardsmen delay
10 Apr 00 | Northern Ireland
Petition to have soldiers discharged
03 Sep 99 | Northern Ireland
Mother wins Scots Guards court battle
15 Nov 99 | Scotland
Scots Guards' case to be re-examined
06 Jul 98 | UK
Review for jailed soldiers
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