Page last updated at 05:29 GMT, Sunday, 15 March 2009

Wounded soldier's attack trauma

Marc Fitzpatrick
Sapper Marc Fitzpatrick had been due to fly to Afghanistan

The mother of a soldier wounded in a shooting at a Northern Ireland barracks in which two other soldiers died a week ago has spoken of her shock.

Pauline Fitzpatrick and her husband Roy flew from Caerphilly to Northern Ireland to be at the beside of their son Marc, 21.

"You kind of prepare yourself for something happening in Afghanistan, not on a Saturday night," she said.

Mrs Fitzpatrick said her son was left "very traumatised" by the incident.

Sappers Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimkar were killed outside the Antrim army base on 7 March.

Four men are being questioned.

Sapper Fitzpatrick was hurt only hours before he was due to fly to Afghanistan with the 38 Engineer Regiment.

The barracks is in fact their home and there was no reason for them to have thought any different until it happened
Pauline Fitzpatrick

The men were hit by a hail of 60 bullets which left Mr Quinsey, 23, from Birmingham and Mr Azimkar, 21, from London, dead.

Two soldiers, including Mr Fitzpatrick were injured and two delivery men were seriously wounded.

The soldiers were dressed in their desert fatigues when they were shot after 2130 GMT at the gates of the Co Antrim barracks.

Mr and Mrs Fitzpatrick said their son had asked for floral tributes to be left in honour of his dead comrades before he underwent a nine-hour operation.

"Marc asked us to lay two lots of flowers for Mark and Pat, and I asked him the night before what he wanted written on the cards, so a personal message from Marc has gone with them - Marc is dealing with his injuries and the loss of two close friends," she said.

She said friends had visited Marc in hospital but he was deeply traumatised by his experience and by the loss of his colleagues.

"All I can say is that waves of emotion come over him, just saying 'Mam, I can't believe what's happened'.

"It's quite a trauma to have gone through, it's just so unexpected. The police have been in contact with us as well.

Patrick Azimkar and Mark Quinsey
Patrick Azimkar and Mark Quinsey were murdered outside the base

"They have been looking after Marc. We've had guards 24/7 just to let him know that he is being looked after. It's just to keep Marc's confidence because he has been very traumatised by it all."

Mrs Fitzpatrick said she was "totally shell-shocked" by the news of the attack.

"We were informed in the early hours of Sunday morning. We had expected him to be up in the air flying to Afghanistan, so it came as a big shock," she said.

"You kind of prepare yourself for something happening in Afghanistan, not on a Saturday night.

"We knew that the situation in Northern Ireland was peaceful and we knew Marc and the boys often sent out for pizzas and Chinese food, and to us it was normality for them.

"The barracks is in fact their home and there was no reason for them to have thought any different until it happened - it came as a very big surprise to us and to everybody else."

Mrs Fitzpatrick said her family had been heartened by the support they had received from both the army and individuals.

She said: "The normal Irish person is not like this, they don't want this, they want peace and we know that."

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