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Ciaran Maxwell 'will likely serve more time than all previous British army convictees combined'

Former Royal Marine Ciaran Maxwell was sentenced to 18 years in prison

THE 18-year jail term handed down to former Royal Marine Ciaran Maxwell is the longest any member of the British army has faced for conflict-related offences.

The 32-year-old from Larne was sentenced in London yesterday on charges linked to the discovery of weapons and bomb parts at 43 hides in England and Northern Ireland.

Mr Justice Nigel Sweeney said: "I'm sure that you were and will remain motivated by dissident republican sympathies and a hostility to the UK."

Mark Thompson of Relatives For Justice said Maxwell "will likely serve more time than all of the previous British army convictees combined".

Ian Thain served just over two years for the murder of Thomas 'Kidso' Reilly in 1983, while Scots Guardsmen Mark Wright and James Fisher each served six years of a life sentence for the murder of 18-year-old Peter McBride in 1992.

Lee Clegg also served four years for the murders of two teenagers in Belfast in 1990, before being cleared at retrial.

Mr Thompson claimed Maxwell's sentence was an example of how victims of the British army "live with double standards".

"Convicted killers of nationalists who also went on to be reinstated into the British army received back pay and received promotions," he said.

Read more: Analysis - The story of former Royal Marine Ciaran Maxwell is bizarre, even by Northern Ireland standards

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