Murder Victim Peter McBride
CONVICTED MURDERERS STILL IN THE BRITISH ARMY
Convicted murderers, Scots Guardsmen Wright and Fisher
In Belfast on 4th September 1992 the British Army stopped 18-year-old father of two Peter McBride. An identity check showed that he was not wanted and a body search found him unarmed. Peter McBride panicked and ran away from the soldiers. Scots Guardsmen Mark Wright and James Fisher chased him, shot him in the back and killed him.
“These guys presumably didn't think they were going to go out and kill on that day.
It doesn't indicate that they are pathological killers.
They committed murder, but in a particular set of circumstances.”
British Ministry of Defence spokesperson - www.irelandclick.com 26/04/04
The Murder Scene
In February 1995 the two soldiers were convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. In September 1998 they were released from prison under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. On 3rd November 1998 an Army Board, including General Mike Jackson (of Bloody Sunday notoriety) and John Spellar (current Northern Ireland Minister who is responsible for human rights) decided they could continue to serve in the army under an “exceptional reasons” clause. This was justified by the Army Board coming to the conclusion that the Scots Guardsmen had committed an “error of judgement”.
General Sir Michael Jackson
Northern Ireland Minister John Spellar
Other members of Her Majesty’s Crown Forces found guilty of crimes such as football related violence, public order offences, drug abuse and cheating on television game shows have been dismissed from the British Army. Since 1995 (the year that Mark Wright and James Fisher were convicted of the murder of Peter McBride) approximately 1,500 British Army soldiers have been dismissed for failing random drug tests. It seems that Tony Blair and the British Armed Forces don’t place the judicially proven murder of a young Irish father of two on their list of ‘dismissible offences’.
If you are concerned that convicted murderers should be allowed to continue to serve in the British Army, please take action.
The Right Honourable Geoffrey Hoon MP
Secretary of State for Defence
Ministry of Defence
London SW1A 2HB
General telephone enquiries to the MoD: +44 (0)870 607 4455
Adam Ingram MP
Minister of State for Armed Forces
Ministry of Defence
London SW1A 2HB
General telephone enquiries to the MoD: +44 (0)870 607 4455
John Spellar MP
Minister of State for Northern Ireland
London SW1P 4PN
Your own MP at:
The House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
Telephone via the House of Commons switchboard:
+44 (0)20 7219 3000
Fax by E-mail via: www.faxyourmp.com
A full list of MP addresses can be found at:
Tony Blair's E-mail is:
Bertie Ahern's E-mail is:
The Irish Embassy's London E-mail is:
Let the British Army know how you feel:
The Army Personnel Centre
65 Brown Street
Glasgow G2 8EX
Tel: +44 (0)141 224 3509 /10/ 11/ 12/ 13/ 14/ 15
The Army Recruiting Group
From the Pat Finucane Centre 23rd September 2003:
The Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram, has admitted that Lance Corporal James Fisher, one of two Scots Guards convicted of the murder of Peter McBride, was promoted while an Army Board was still considering the fate of the guardsmen. The admission came in a letter to the Pat Finucane Centre received on the day of the Brent East By-election. A PFC spokesperson has described the news as “clear evidence that the MoD subverted a court ruling and improperly influenced the Army Board."
British Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram
The spokesman continued “A Belfast court ordered the Ministry of Defence and then Armed Forces Minister John Spellar to reconsider the original decision to retain the two guardsmen. As a result a second Army Board was appointed chaired by Armed Forces Minister John Spellar. In October 2000, while the Board deliberated on the case, Fisher was promoted. A month later, in November 2000 it was announced that the second Army Board had again decided that Wright and Fisher could remain in the British Army. The final meeting of the Board was held on 8th November, several weeks after the promotion. This promotion was clearly an attempt to subvert a court ruling that had overturned the original Army Board decision in favour of the guardsmen. It is also clear that the MoD, while John Spellar was Armed Forces Minister, withheld the fact of this promotion and more importantly the timing, from the legal team representing Jean McBride and sought to exert improper influence on the Army Board."
Jean McBride commented, “John Spellar was the Armed Forces Minister when an employee convicted of murder was promoted and while a court ordered tribunal, which he sat on, was reconsidering the decision to even employ that person. Where are the demands for an inquiry and resignations? Instead Spellar is appointed Minister for Human Rights. This totally vindicates the position taken by the Mayor of Belfast Martin Morgan who is boycotting Spellar’s office.”
Blair Stance on McBride Army Killers 'evasive'
Irish News 3rd November 2003
Tony Blair has described the retention in the British army of the convicted murderers of a Belfast teenager as an “internal employment matter” in a letter to SDLP leader Mark Durkan.
The prime minister was responding to criticism from Mr Durkan over the army's failure to discharge Scots Guardsmen James Fisher and Mark Wright while sacking an officer who cheated on a television gameshow.
The soldiers were admitted back into the army after serving a jail sentence for the murder of 18-year-old Peter McBride in 1992.
Mr Durkan contrasted this treatment to a decision to discharge Major Charles Ingram after he was found guilty of cheating on the ITV programme Who Wants to be a Millionaire.
“The message sent is clear. Whereas the British army takes cheating on a gameshow seriously, the same is not true of murdering Northern Ireland civilians,” Mr Durkan said in a letter to Mr Blair.
The SDLP leader further pointed to a ruling by the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal declaring that the army had been wrong to allow Wright and Fisher to remain as soldiers “because of the exceptional circumstances” surrounding Mr McBride's death.
The appeal judges did not formally recommend the discharge of the officers.
However, Mr Durkan criticised the failure of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to take any action following the judgment.
“It is outrageous for a public authority to ignore a court declaration of illegality in this way,” he said.
In response, in a letter seen by the Irish News, Mr Blair said the MoD and army authorities would “take into account the full implication of the judges' serious concerns in the handling of future retention cases”.
He went on to say: “In your letter you also seek to draw a parallel between the army's handling of the Fisher and Wright case and the case of the major who was convicted of fraud following an appearance on a television gameshow.
“Both cases were internal employment matters for the army and both were dealt with in accordance with the appropriate procedure, but the details, context and circumstances of each are not comparable.”
Speaking after a meeting with the McBride family on Saturday, Mr Durkan accused the prime minister of being “evasive” over the issue.
“Tony Blair argues that the cases are not comparable. That is true. Murder on the streets of Belfast is much worse. So why is cheating on a TV programme taken more seriously?” he said.
“Nor is it tenable for Tony Blair to pretend that this is simply an internal employment matter. It is a matter of grave public concern and basic human rights.”
Developments in Peter Mc Bride case
Fresh challenge over soldiers
BBC 6th December 2003
The mother of a Belfast teenager murdered by two soldiers in 1992 has been given the go-ahead to press for a third legal bid to get them thrown out of the Army.
Jean McBride was granted leave in the High Court in Belfast on Friday to apply for a judicial review of the Army's decision to retain the two soldiers.
Her son Peter, 18, was shot dead after being stopped and searched by the soldiers while they were on patrol near his home in the New Lodge area of north Belfast on 4 September, 1992.
Scots Guards Mark Wright and James Fisher were sentenced to life for murder in 1995, but three years later were released from prison and allowed to rejoin their regiment.
The McBride family have been campaigning to have Fisher and Wright expelled from the Army.
Last June, the Court of Appeal ruled that the Army was wrong not to discharge them.
Mrs McBride's latest court bid is challenging the decision by the Armed Forces Minister not to review the soldiers' status in the light of the 2-1 majority decision in the appeal court.
In his reserved decision on Friday, Mr Justice Reginald Weir said an arguable case had been made and therefore he was granting leave but added that he was not expressing any view about the ultimate outcome of the application.
The hearing was adjourned until 23 January.
In December 1998 an Army Board decided that Wright & Fisher could remain in the Army due to "exceptional reasons".
In September 1999 a Belfast court overturned the Army Board decision and ordered the MoD to reconsider the retention of the two convicted murderers.
Throughout the summer of 2000 a second Army Board, which included the then Armed Forces Minister John Spellar and Commander in Chief of Land Forces General Mike Jackson (of Bloody Sunday notoriety) held a series of hearings to determine whether Wright & Fisher should be dismissed.
In October 2000, while the Army Board was deliberating, Fisher was promoted.
On 24th November 2000 the Army Board again ruled that there were ‘exceptional reasons’ justifying retention of the guardsmen.
In June 2003 the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal ruled that there were no ‘exceptional reasons’ justifying retention.
In August 2003 Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram revealed for the first time in a letter to the Pat Finucane Centre that Fisher had been promoted.
In September 2003 Ingram admitted that the promotion occurred in October 2000 while the Army Board was deliberating on the case.
What Can You Do?
* Organise pickets, vigils and delegations to MP's
* Flood MOD/Army Recruitment Offices/MP's by telephone, fax's and E-mails
* Call radio talk shows
* Write letters to newspapers
* Create a petition calling for the dismissal of Guardsmen Wright and Fisher
* Propose a motion at meetings of any Trade Union, Labour Party, Community Group or Society you are a member of
* Join the Troops Out Movement