Sorry if this was covered already: UK drops extradition bid for IRA escapees on 05/08/2009 11:14:58 British authorities have dropped plans to extradite two IRA men who escaped from London's Brixton prison 18 years ago, it was confirmed today. British authorities have dropped plans to extradite two IRA men who escaped from London's Brixton prison 18 years ago, it was confirmed today. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it was no longer preparing a case against Pearse McAuley, who was freed from jail today after serving 10 years for killing Detective Garda Jerry McCabe during a robbery 13 years ago, and Nessan Quinlivan. The pair were awaiting trial on conspiracy to murder and explosives charges when they launched the audacious jail-break in July 1991. In a statement the UK's CPS said: "Having reviewed these cases, the CPS has decided there is no longer a realistic prospect of conviction." McAuley and Quinlivan shot their way out of Brixton as they awaited trial for conspiracy to murder brewery boss Charles Tidbury and for firearms and explosives offences. Both McAuley and Quinlivan had been arrested on an extradition warrant in 1995 and while McAuley went on to serve a sentence for Det Gda McCabe's killing, Quinlivan fought the case. While on the run, McAuley was part of a notorious IRA gang jailed for the shooting dead of Det Gda McCabe in an armed robbery in Co Limerick in 1996. Det Gda McCabe was in an unmarked garda patrol car escorting a post office van delivering â¬102,000 to local offices in Adare in June of that year when the IRA gang struck. The officer was shot about 15 times with a Kalashnikov assault rifle. His colleague, Det Gda Ben O'Sullivan, was seriously injured in the shooting. McAuley, Kevin Walsh and two others - Jeremiah Sheehy, who was sentenced to 12 years, and Michael O'Neill, who served more than eight years - were charged with murder but all pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter. The State accepted the pleas in 1999 after witnesses refused to give evidence in Dublin's Special Criminal Court. A fifth man, John Quinn, was jailed for six years for conspiracy to commit a robbery. McAuley, from Strabane, and Walsh were the last of the five to be released. They had served three-quarters of their 14-year sentences. Walsh, a senior IRA figure from Patrickswell, Co Limerick, was believed to have fired the fatal shots. The two walked free from Castlerea prison at 7am this morning and were met by Sinn FÃ©in TD Martin Ferris, who later welcomed the decision to lift the extradition warrant. Mr Ferris said: "Sinn Fâ¬in welcomes the decision by the British Attorney General to waive the warrants in these cases and to stop any extradition proceedings. "This will be a relief to the men and their families. Sinn FÃ©in president Gerry Adams said McAuley and Walsh had apologised for Det Gda McCabe's killing and should have been granted early release under the Good Friday Agreement. "In a public statement some years ago, the IRA members convicted in relation to Jerry McCabe's death and the wounding of Garda Ben O'Sullivan expressed their deep regret and apologised for the 'hurt and grief we have caused to their families'," the West Belfast MP said. "I believe that this apology was genuine and it echoes the sentiments of republicans everywhere. "I deeply regret the great loss and hurt suffered by the McCabe and O'Sullivan families. "The release of Kevin Walsh and Pearse McAuley comes at the end of their sentences, despite them being qualifying IRA prisoners under the Good Friday Agreement." The McCabe family issued a statement in the last fortnight insisting that they did not want to discuss the killers' release but added that it offered them some closure after the rule of law has been served. The CPS also said it was no longer seeking prosecution of two other men, Andrew Martin and Anthony Duncan. Martin was wanted on bomb-making and conspiracy to cause explosions charges in the late 1980s. He had been identified as a suspect in 1995 and in 2001 successfully appealed his extradition. Duncan was wanted over bomb attempts in Bognor Regis and Brighton in 1994 which involved explosives being tied to bicycles. He appealed the extradition in 2000. Officials said they had considered the availability of key exhibits, statements made by ministers about on-the-runs and the length of time since the alleged crimes took place.