Northern Ireland news

New DNA evidence produced in conviction for 1998 INLA killing of ex-RUC reservist

Former RUC member Cyril Stewart was shot dead by the INLA in March 1998. Picture from the BBC
Connla Young

LAWYERS for a Co Armagh man convicted of the shocking killing of an ex-RUC member say new DNA evidence supports claims he is innocent.

Barry Morgan was jailed for murdering former full-time RUC reservist Cyril Stewart (52) just two weeks before the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in March 1998.

The father-of-one was shot three times in the head and four times in the body by two INLA gunmen in front of his wife as they left a supermarket in Armagh.

Those involved dumped their clothes nearby as they fled the scene.

Morgan, then aged 25, was convicted the following year and given a life sentence, but later released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

A second man, Neil Sheridan (29), was also convicted of murder in 2001.

Former INLA man Neill Sheridan

He died after being found on the floor of his cell at Maghaberry Prison in 2004.

It was later shown he had taken ecstasy.

Before his death he spoke to The Irish News from prison and wrote a letter expressing his regret.

"What I did was a squalid, sickening act which would have sickened the overwhelming number of Irish people including genuine republicans," he wrote.

"I would wish to apologise to the community as a whole and the people of Armagh in particular.

"I would also wish my victim's family to know that I will always be ashamed of what I have done."

Another man was acquitted of charges of conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to collect information useful to terrorists.

Morgan's case was referred to the Criminal Case Review Commission (CCRC) in 2015.

Two previous referrals to the body were unsuccessful.

His solicitor Peter Corrigan, of Phoenix Law, claimed that new DNA evidence recently provided to the commission shows that Morgan could not have been one of the two gunmen.

He said the evidence, which has been produced by DNA expert Professor Dan Krane, shows that none of the samples taken from the clothes is linked to his client.

A leader in his field, Professor Krane was involved in the 1995 OJ Simpson murder trial and also gave evidence in the trial of Sean Hoey who was acquitted of involvement in the 1998 Omagh bomb.

Mr Corrigan said the DNA testing supports Morgan's position that he is innocent of the murder.

"We have submitted this new evidence to the CCRC for their consideration and are urging them to refer the case to the Court of Appeal," he said.

A spokesman for the CCRC said: "The case is under review and we are looking at a number of issues including recent submissions."

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe from just £1 for the first month to get full access

Northern Ireland news

Today's horoscope

Horoscope


See a different horoscope: