Colin Duffy (born 1968) is an Irish republican, described by the BBC as the most recognisable name and face amongst dissident republicans in Northern Ireland. He was cleared of murder charges in three court cases involving police and army killings.
Duffy was born into a Catholic family in Lurgan, County Armagh. A committed republican, he joined the Provisional IRA when he was young and became involved with the organisation's political wing, Sinn Fein. On 7 March 1990, he survived an attempt on his life by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). He and two other prominent republicans, Sam Marshall and Tony McCaughey, left Lurgan RUC barracks after signing bail. A small quantity of ammunition had previously been found in McCaughey's home. A short distance from the station, two masked UVF gunmen opened fire wounding Duffy and McCaughey, and killing Marshall. Marshall's last words before he died were said to have been “We were let out to be set up.” The killers were never caught; however a man whose description matched that of UVF Mid-Ulster Brigade commander, Robin Jackson, was seen behaving suspiciously in the vicinity of the barracks at a previous bail signing by the three men.
Duffy was in 1995 jailed for the murder of a former Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) soldier John Lyness, but later acquitted after one of the key witnessess, UVF member Lindsay Robb, was arrested in Scotland for gun-running. Rosemary Nelson acted as Duffy's solicitor. Two years later, he was charged with shooting dead two Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) constables in Lurgan town centre, but these charges were also later dropped. The dead RUC men, John Graham and David Johnston, had been on foot patrol when they were gunned down. As before, Nelson defended him. Nelson was later killed by the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) in 1999.
2009 Massereene Barracks shooting court case
On 20 January 2012, Duffy was found not guilty on the charge of murder in relation to the shooting dead of two soldiers in County Antrim in March 2009. Duffy's co-accused Brian Shivers from Magherafelt was sentenced to life in prison for the killings. Shivers, a cystic fibrosis sufferer, had been given three to four years to live before the trial. In January 2013, Shivers conviction was overturned by Northern Ireland's highest appeals court.
The DNA of Duffy was found on a seat belt buckle and the tip of a latex glove found in the burnt-out getaway car used in the attack. Duffy claimed his DNA was planted.
His two brothers Paul, Damien and his cousin Shane were arrested for suspected terrorist activity and were charged in court on May 2012. Paul was also charged with directing dissident republican terrorism.
On 8 September 2012 Duffy gave the graveside oration at the funeral of a Real IRA member killed in Dublin. Describing the deceased Alan Ryan as "a brave Irish republican and fearless IRA volunteer" who was dedicated to "fighting foreign interference in our country".
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- "Colin Duffy not guilty over Massereene murders". RTE. 20 January 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
- "MAN CONVICTED OF MURDERING UK TROOPS WINS APPEAL". AP. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
- "Notorious republican beats THIRD murder charge as he is cleared of killing of two soldiers as they collected pizza" Daily Mail 21 January 2012 Retrieved 10 September 2012
- "Bomb plot three are cheered by relatives as they face court" The Sun 20 May 2012 Retrieved 10 September 2012
- "Dissident show of strength for Alan Ryan funeral" Belfast Telegraph 9 September 2012
- "David Black murder - two arrests over prison officer attack". BBC News. UK. 2 November 2012. Retrieved 2 November 2012.