Republican News · Thursday 30 March 2000

[An Phoblacht]

Clegg promoted

The British paratrooper involved in the killing of unarmed West Belfast teenagers Karen Reilly and Martin Peake has been promoted to the rank of corporal by the British Army, just months after his convictions for murder and wounding were quashed.

Lee Clegg was part of a British Army foot patrol which opened fire on a car carrying teenage `joy riders' in West Belfast in September 1990. Karen Reilly, aged 18, was killed along with the 17-year-old driver of the vehicle, Martin Peake. A third teenager, 16-year-old Markievicz Gorman, was seriously wounded during the attack.

The patrol's claim that they opened fire after the vehicle sped through a road block injuring a soldier was totally discredited. An RUC officer accompanying the patrol at the time of the shooting, changed his evidence after a civilian eyewitness said he had seen a soldier deliberately injuring another member of the patrol.

Six paratroopers later stood trial on a number of charges, including murder, attempted murder and attempting to pervert the course of justice. Lee Clegg, who was branded a liar in court, was convicted of murder.

A massive media campaign, fronted by the British military establishment, finally secured Clegg's release. In 1999, Clegg was cleared of the murder conviction at a retrial and the wounding conviction was quashed earlier this year, in what nationalists throughout the Six Counties saw as a travesty of justice.

Clegg has already returned to his regiment. An MoD spokesperson confirmed Clegg had been promoted to the rank of corporal and further promotion has not been ruled out.

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