Barracks death: soldier charged with murder of Corporal Geoffrey McNeill

Twenty-three-year-old soldier, Lance Corporal Richard Farrell, remanded in custody after brief court appearance

A 23-year-old soldier has appeared in court charged with murdering a more senior colleague whose body was found at a British army barracks at the weekend.

Lance Corporal Richard Farrell, who is alleged to have killed Corporal Geoffrey McNeill, was remanded in custody after making a brief appearance at Telford magistrates’ court.

Farrell, a member of 1st Battalion the Royal Irish Regiment, spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth, and that he was based like McNeill at Clive Barracks in Tern Hill, near Market Drayton in Shropshire.

A murder investigation was launched after McNeill’s body was found in an accommodation block at Clive Barracks at around 9am on Saturday.

McNeill, 32, was also a member of the 1st Battalion the Royal Irish Regiment, part of the UK’s rapid response air assault brigade.

Earlier this week one of McNeill’s three brothers, Jason McNeill, speaking on behalf of the family, said he was a dedicated soldier.

He said: “Geoff was born in Ballymoney, Northern Ireland, and dedicated his life to the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Regiment. He served his country with the highest degree of honour and dedication.

“He was a much-loved son, brother, uncle and friend, and touched the lives of all who had the pleasure of meeting him. The family would like to give thanks for the continued support of the army, police and all who knew and loved Geoff. Our love for him remains as strong as ever.”

He concluded by saying: “Rest in peace, soldier. Faugh-a-Ballagh” – a battle cry meaning “clear the way”.

The 1st Battalion the Royal Irish Regiment has seen action in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years. Soldiers from Tern Hill were mobilised to help flood victims in Worcestershire.

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