Extra time granted over soldier murder

Published Tuesday, 11 March 2014
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Detectives in England have been granted more time to question a serving soldier on suspicion of murdering a Northern Irish corporal, who was found dead at their barracks.

Extra time granted over soldier murder
Police are investigating the death of Corporal McNeill. (© West Mercia Police)

West Mercia Police said officers were continuing to interview a 23-year-old soldier in connection with the death of Cpl Geoffrey McNeill at the weekend.

The force also confirmed that the body of Cpl McNeill, a member of 1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment, was found in an accommodation block at Clive Barracks in Tern Hill, north Shropshire.

The 32-year-old, who was not married, was from Ballymoney, Co Antrim and was educated in nearby Coleraine.

A police spokesman said magistrates had granted a custody extension on Tuesday allowing detectives to hold the suspect until 11am on Wednesday.

A murder investigation was launched on Saturday after the body of Cpl McNeill was discovered at about 9am.

In a family statement issued on Monday, he was described as a much loved son, brother, uncle and friend who had "served his country with the highest degree of honour and dedication.

"He was a much loved son, brother, uncle and friend and touched the lives of all who had the pleasure of meeting him. The family would like to give thanks for the continued support of the army, police and all who knew and loved Geoff."

Further post-mortem tests will take place later on Tuesday to try to establish the cause of the soldier's death.

Renewing an appeal for information, detective inspector Steve Tonks, of West Mercia Police, said: "We urge anyone who has any information which might be relevant to please contact Shrewsbury CID by calling 101 as a matter of urgency.

"We have a team of officers actively involved in piecing together the circumstances which led to Corporal McNeill's death."

Cpl McNeill's battalion undertook an operational tour of Afghanistan in 2011 and was deployed last month to help flood-stricken communities in Worcestershire.

© UTV News
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