Soldier found guilty of Blackpool Corporal’s murder

Corporal Geoffrey McNeill
Corporal Geoffrey McNeill
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A soldier has been jailed for life after being found guilty of murdering a comrade from Blackpool in a “vicious and brutal” attack at their barracks.

Corporal Geoffrey McNeill, a former pupil of St George’s School, in Marton, was found dead in his room at their Shropshire barracks earlier this year.

In a majority decision, the jury at Birmingham Crown Court today returned its verdict against Lance Corporal Richard Farrell, after 19 hours of deliberations.

Throughout a four-week trial, Farrell had denied killing fellow member of the Royal Irish Regiment, 32-year-old Corporal McNeill in his room at Clive Barracks, Tern Hill, Shropshire in March.

But the jury agreed with the Crown’s case that the 23-year-old soldier, from Dublin, had murdered Cpl McNeill “inflicting a series of heavy blows” according to prosecuting QC Christopher Hotten, breaking the older man’s neck in three places.

Farrell claimed he remembered nothing of the night’s events, having drunk at least a litre of Disaronno liqueur, after having been punched by McNeill in a pub in nearby Market Drayton earlier in the evening.

He has been sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum term of 15 years.

Full story in tomorrow’s paper