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Revenge theory over murder of Shropshire solider after night out at town pub

North Shropshire | News | Published:

The killing of a soldier at a Shropshire barracks could have been an act of revenge for a previous punch in a pub in Market Drayton, a jury has heard.

Tern Hill Barracks, where the body of Corporal Geoffrey McNeill, inset, was found

Corporal Richard Farrell and Corporal Geoffrey McNeill had been out drinking in the town separately, coming together in the early hours at the Sandbrook Vaults on Shropshire Street.

The jury sitting at Birmingham Crown Court yesterday was shown CCTV footage of Farrell's movements and interactions with Corporal McNeill that night.

"By mid evening both men are in Market Drayton and spent the evening in the company of other soldiers, drinking in a variety of public houses," said Mr Christopher Hotten QC, prosecuting.

Mr Hotten said that between 11pm and 1.23am Farrell was in the Clive and Coffyne pub on Shropshire Street where he became angry after he was told by one of his fellow colleagues a girl he was trying to talk to was with another man.

Farrell then said some of the soldiers he was out with were "acting like maggots".

At 1.23am Farrell left the pub and went to the Sandbrook Vaults pub next door.

Mr Hotten said: "An important part of this case is likely to be how much Richard Farrell had drunk and how much he was affected by what he had drunk."

He said there had been no previous bad feeling between the two soldiers, who only knew of each other professionally.

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They were initially were seen shaking hands in the pub. But by 2.25am the mood had changed.

Mr Hotten said Farrell had approached Corporal McNeill in the bar area of the pub and he had tried to "shake him off".

Farrell is then seen going back to Corporal McNeill and the jury could see him punch Farrell to the face.

Mr Hotten said: "It was a heavy blow and there was a cut to the left side of Richard Farrell's lip.

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"The punch given by Geoffrey McNeill could explain an attack for revenge could it not?"

Farrell, 23, denies murdering Corporal McNeill, 32, at Clive Barracks in Tern Hill on March 8.

The jury will be taken on a site visit to the barracks tomorrow.

The trial continues.

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