Dead soldier ‘served with honour’ says family as murder suspect held in cells

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A soldier who was allegedly murdered at an Army barracks “served his country with the highest degree of honour and dedication”, according to his grieving family.

The body of Corporal Geoffrey McNeill, 32, was discovered at Clive Barracks in Tern Hill, Shropshire, at around 9am on Saturday.

A 23-year-old soldier from the same base has been arrested on suspicion of murder and is being held in custody at Shrewsbury police station.

One of the victim’s three brothers, Jason McNeill, speaking on behalf of the family, 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. Rest in peace soldier. Faugh-a-Ballagh.”

A post-mortem examination was carried out over the weekend but further tests have been ordered to try to establish the cause of death. The coroner has also been informed.

The dead soldier is from the same battalion deployed only last month to help flood-stricken communities in Worcestershire.

Members of the unit met Prime Minister David Cameron when he toured some of the county’s flood defences at Upton-upon-Severn on February 17.