Brian Patrick Shivers: charged with murdering two soldiers at Massereene

The father of the second man charged with murdering two soldiers at Massereene was one of the 'human guinea pigs' tortured by the British government in 1971.

Brian Patrick Shiver's father, Pat, a civil rights' activist from Toomebridge, was one of 12 internees known as 'the hooded men'.

They were stripped naked, dressed in boiler suits, forced to stand in a search position, beaten, subjected to white noise, and deprived of food, water and sleep for eight days.

In a case supported by the Irish government, the European Court of Human Rights found the British government guilty of "inhuman and degrading treatment".

Brian Shivers (44), from Magherafelt, denies murdering Sappers Mark Quinsy and Patrick Azimkar in the Real IRA attack in March. He was charged with the crime last week. Prominent republican Colin Duffy is also charged with the double murder.

Father-of-five Pat Shivers was one of hundreds of men arrested during internment. A dozen were taken away for sensory deprivation experiments by British soldiers. In between the torture, they were questioned by RUC Special Branch.

Pat Shivers later wrote: "Blue bags put over our heads. Short of breath because of bag. Run across field to helicopter. Landed didn't know where. Thrown into back of lorry. Marched into some sort of building.

"Noise like compressed air-engine. Very loud, deafening. Hands up against wall. Legs spread apart. Stayed there about four hours. Could no longer hold up arms. Fell down. Arms put up again. Hands hammered until circulation restored.

"This happened continually for 12 or 14 hours until I collapsed. Thinking I would be executed. Fell down. Slapped back up. No sleep. No food. One time thought I'd died. Felt happy."

The treatment devastated the 12 men's mental and physical health. Many needed psychiatric help; others developed premature heart problems and cancer. Shivers died several years after receiving £15,000 compensation.

Paddy Joe McClean, an outspoken paramilitary critic who was also one of the hooded men, said: "Pat Shivers was a quiet, modest man guilty of nothing other than involvement in the civil rights movement.

"He told me that during his torture, he hung on by praying to his baby son Finbarr who had died at six months old."

Padraigin Drinan, a solicitor for Pat Shivers and other hooded men, said: "Pat never recovered from being tortured. He was left with a tick in the eye and a stutter. When we went to Strasbourg for the case, I remember being asked to buy presents to take home for Pat's kids and those of the other men."

Mickey Donnelly, another hooded man, said: "Pat was the gentlest person you could meet. He was totally shattered by the torture. His hands never stopped trembling."