Wood Green soldier gunned down

Charlotte Newton A soldier who was gunned down by the Real IRA in Northern Ireland at the weekend was from Haringey, it was revealed today. The MOD said Cengiz "Patrick" Azimkar , 21, was killed at Massereene Army base in Antrim on Saturday.

Charlotte Newton

A soldier who was gunned down by the Real IRA in Northern Ireland at the weekend was from Haringey, it was revealed today.

Cengiz "Patrick" Azimka, 21, from Wood Green, was killed at Massereene Army base in Antrim, was originally from Wood Green.

He and Sapper Mark Quinsey, 23, from Birmingham, were with members of 38 Engineer Regiment as they waited for a pizza delivery outside the barracks at 9.20pm on Saturday when they came under fire.

Four other people - including two pizza delivery men - were injured.

Sapper Azimka was described as jovial, courteous and fun-loving, in a statement released by the MOD today.

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He was also a talented footballer who had trials with Tottenham Hotspur when he was younger.

Lieutenant Colonel Roger Lewis, Commanding Officer 38 Engineer Regiment, said: "The regiment and I have been shocked and stunned by the death of this very promising young soldier. Our thoughts are with Sapper Azimkar's family and many friends as we all come to terms with this tragic loss.

"Sapper Pat Azimkar exemplified the characteristics of a highly motivated young soldier. He was dedicated, ambitious and full of energy. Always willing to go the extra mile to get the job done he never ceased to amaze me with his cheerful approach regardless of the conditions."

This was the first time soldiers have been murdered in Northern Ireland in 12 years. Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson said the murders were a futile act which would not destabilise the peace process.

Sapper Azimkar was due to deploy to Afghanistan with the rest of his regiment at the time of the attack.

Lieutenant Colonel Lewis added: "During training for our deployment to Afghanistan, Sapper Azimkar showed his true grit and determination, making absolutely certain that he was fully prepared for the exacting and demanding conditions to come." Sapper Azimkar joined the Royal Engineers in 2005 and completed his basic recruit training and combat engineer course before attending artisan training as a carpenter and joiner.

He was posted to 38 Engineer Regiment in Ripon, North Yorkshire, in 2007. In January 2008 he completed a construction task in Northern Ireland and was then deployed to Kenya in support of the infantry unit with whom he was due to work in Afghanistan. Following his return he participated in the regimental move to a new permanent base in Northern Ireland.

Lieutenant Smith, 2 Troop Commander, 25 Field Squadron, said: "I met Sapper Azimkar during my first O Group as a Troop Commander. He was sitting in the corner of the Troop office; quiet and reserved, he had a cheeky smile on his face and an air of confidence about him. I liked him instantly. The more I got to know him I realised just how popular he was amongst the Troop."

Major Darren Woods, Officer Commanding 25 Field Squadron, said: "It is difficult to convey the feelings and emotion of the squadron as we come to terms with the tragic loss of Sapper Azimkar. A truly professional soldier, loyal comrade and friend to all, this will be a day marked forever with great sadness."

Prime Minister Gordon Brown visited the base today (Monday). He was accompanied by NI Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde.

Police are examining a car in Randalstown, five miles from the army base, which they suspect may have been used by the gunmen.