20 September 2007 Edition

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British army murderer deployed to Afghanistan

Sinn Féin MLA John O’ Dowd has described reports that British army murderer Lee Clegg is to go to Afghanistan, the development as “disgusting”.
Clegg was convicted of murder for his involvement in the shooting dead of two teenage in West Belfast. His conviction was later controversially overturned.
The incident took place on September 30, 1990. Clegg, then a Private, and his fellow soldiers manning the checkpoint on the Upper Glen Road in Belfast, fired 19 bullets into a Vauxhall Astra. Clegg fired four of the bullets, the last of which killed 18-year-old passenger Karen Reilly. The driver, 17-year-old Martin Peake, also died at the scene, and the last passenger, Markiewicz Gorman, escaped with minor injuries.
Clegg was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder in 1993 as a result of the incident The murder conviction was opposed by Unionist politicians and some British newspapers, including the Daily Mail, who began a campaign for his release.
Clegg was released under licence by then Six County Direct Ruler Patrick Mayhew in 1995, which in turn to led to rioting in nationalist areas of Belfast.
A set of appeals to the Court of Appeal and House of Lords led to the quashing of the murder conviction in 1998 and a re-trial in March 1999. At the retrial Clegg was cleared of murder, but a conviction for “attempting to wound” the driver of the car, Martin Peake, who also died in the incident, was upheld.
Another appeal, this time at the Court of Appeal in  the Six Counties, led to that lesser conviction also being overturned on January 31, 2000. Clegg currently serves as part of 16 Air assault brigade.
On 12 September 2007 it was reported by the Daily Mail that Clegg would be serving in Afghanistan in 2008 as combat medic with the 2nd Battalion Parachute Regiment .
Commenting Sinn Féin MLA John O’Dowd said:
“Lee Clegg’ record in Ireland was scandalous and the campaign which followed was blatently snubbed by the British war machine.
“The British government, by appointing Lee Clegg to Afghanistan, is severely misguided.
“Lee Clegg murdered two West Belfast teenagers while serving as a British soldier in the six counties. He is unfit to work anywhere in the world and it seems that mistakes made in Ireland have been translated to Afghanistan and the Middle East.”  

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