LATEST - jury retires in McNeill murder case

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A jury has retired to consider its verdict on a mortar platoon soldier accused of murdering another member of his regiment at their base.

Lance Corporal Richard Farrell, who joined the Royal Irish Regiment in 2009, is alleged to have killed Ballymoney Corporal Geoffrey McNeill at Clive Barracks in Tern Hill, Shropshire.

The Crown alleges that Farrell, who denies murder, launched a brutal and violent assault on Cpl McNeill after being punched by him during a night out.

A three-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court has heard that Cpl McNeill, originally from Ballymoney, was found dead in an accommodation block on the morning of March 8 this year.

Farrell, from Dublin, and McNeill had both served in Afghanistan with the Royal Irish Regiment.

In his closing speech to the jury last week, prosecutor Christopher Hotten QC claimed Farrell had sought to hide the truth by claiming to remember almost nothing of the night Cpl McNeill died.

During his final comments to the jury earlier this week, defence QC Stephen Linehan submitted that the Crown’s case was based on a “fundamental error of fact” as to when Cpl McNeill was seen with bloodied hands at Tern Hill’s guard room in the early hours of March 8.