Tributes amid Cpl McNeill murder probe

Tributes amid Cpl McNeill murder probe

Police have released the name of a soldier from the 1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment, who was found dead at a base in England.

He was Corporal Geoffrey McNeill, from Ballymoney, Co Antrim.A murder investigation was launched after the 32-year-old's body was discovered at the Clive Barracks in Shropshire on Saturday.One of Corporal McNeill's brothers has paid tribute to him on behalf of the family."Geoff was born in Ballymoney, Northern Ireland and dedicated his life to the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment," Jason McNeill said."He served his country with the highest degree of honour and dedication.Our love for him remains as strong as ever. Rest in peace soldier. Faugh-a-Ballagh.Jason McNeill"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."Corporal Geoffrey McNeill was born in Ballymoney and went to school in Coleraine. He was not married.Police have arrested a 23-year-old serving soldier from the Tern Hill Barracks in connection with the death of Corporal McNeill.The man is being held on suspicion of murder.A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said the department was helping police with their investigation.Our thoughts are with the family, but it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.Ministry of DefenceDetective inspector Steve Tonks, of West Mercia Police, said: "The investigation is in its early stages and extensive inquiries are continuing."A post mortem conducted by a Home Office pathologist was held on Sunday and further examinations and tests are being carried out to help establish the cause of death."Mervyn Storey, of the DUP, has expressed his sympathies to the family.He said: "This is truly shocking news and my thoughts are with the family of Cpl McNeill who have received the worst news imaginable today."Every solder and their family recognises the risks associated with serving their country in a wartime deployment, but for this tragic incident to have occurred in barracks makes it even more shocking."It is vital there is a full and detailed investigation into what has occurred and the full facts surrounding what happened are established."Police appealed for information and said the coroner for Shropshire had been informed.

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