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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 June, 2003, 17:07 GMT 18:07 UK
Mother refuses to meet Murphy
Wright and Fisher were both convicted of murder
Wright and Fisher were both convicted of murder
A Belfast woman who wants the dismissal of two soldiers who killed her son has declined a meeting with the Northern Ireland Secretary.

Scots Guards Mark Wright and James Fisher were convicted of the 1992 murder of 18-year-old Peter McBride.

He was shot after being stopped and searched by the soldiers while they were on patrol near his home in the New Lodge area of north Belfast on 4 September.

The pair were sentenced to life for murder in 1995, but three years later were released from prison and allowed to rejoin their regiments.

Mr McBride's mother, Jean, believes the soldiers should have been expelled from the Army and has challenged the decision in the courts.

I am tired of simply being portrayed as a victim
Jean McBride
Last week, the Court of Appeal in Belfast ruled the Army was wrong to retain the soldiers.

The ruling came just hours before John Spellar, the former Armed Forces Minister, was appointed by Tony Blair to the Northern Ireland ministerial team in his reshuffle.

On Tuesday, Mrs McBride asked for a meeting with Mr Spellar after he was given his new portfolio by Secretary of State Paul Murphy.

She said his appointment was putting her family through further suffering.

Decision

On Wednesday, Mr Spellar confirmed that he was involved in making the Army decision.

But he said it would not be appropriate to meet Mrs McBride, because of the possibility of further legal action.

He said the secretary of state and the minister responsible for victims would meet Mrs McBride instead.

However, Mrs McBride said in a statement on Wednesday that she did not request and did not want to meet any other minister.

"I am tired of simply being portrayed as a victim," she said.

The Court of Appeal stopped short of ordering the Army to dismiss the two soldiers, who are thought to be serving in Iraq.

Instead, they made a legal declaration that the reasons adopted by the Army Board were not so exceptional as to permit the retention of the two soldiers.

A dissenting judgement was delivered by the Lord Chief Justice Sir Robert Carswell, who held that the Army Board was entitled in law to reach the conclusion it did.

At their trial, Wright and Fisher said they believed Peter McBride was carrying a bomb.

But the judge found they were lying as they had already stopped and searched him.




SEE ALSO:
Legal challenge over Army killers
16 Jan 03  |  Northern Ireland
Petition to have soldiers discharged
10 Apr 00  |  Northern Ireland


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