Page last updated at 22:14 GMT, Thursday, 18 March 2010

Irish army triple killer released from prison

Michael McAleavey
Michael McAleavey has been freed from prison

A former Irish soldier who killed three colleagues in Lebanon in 1982 has been released from prison in County Antrim.

Michael McAleavey has served 27 years of a life sentence.

In October 1982, the then 21-year-old shot dead three army colleagues while on peacekeeping duties in Lebanon.

He had claimed Corporal Gregory Morrow, Private Thomas Murphy and Private Peter Burke had been shot by Lebanese gunmen, but later admitted he was responsible.

He said he had "snapped," blaming a combination of dehydration and heat exhaustion.

Almost a year later he was sentenced to life in prison.

Appeal

After spending time at various jails in the Republic his application to be transferred to Maghaberry Prison in County Antrim was granted.

The west Belfast man had made the appeal on humanitarian grounds in order to be closer to his family.

A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Prison Service confirmed on Thursday that Michael McAleavey had been released following directions from the Independent Parole Commission.

It was decided that McAleavey should be released as he met all the conditions for his release.

He was freed on a life licence which means that if he breaches the conditions of his release he will be recalled to prison.

It is understood that one of these conditions is that he does not speak to the media.



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