Ceasefire fear after UVF man is shot dead
Wednesday 30 October 1996
The killing, shortly before 2am yesterday, at first led to concern that the fragile loyalist ceasefire was collapsing. Within hours, however, both loyalists and security sources said paramilitary groups had not been involved in the death.
Both the security forces and loyalists maintain that the motive for the shooting was financial rather than political, though the dead man was, until last week, a senior figure in the illegal Ulster Volunteer Force.
He was Thomas George Stewart, 32, a father of two, who was shot several times as he walked near his home in the tough Ballysillan area.
Stewart was UVF commander in north Belfast until last Friday, when he and another senior UVF man were "stood down" by the organisation.
Loyalists said the two had been responsible for a "homer" - the armed robbery of a local post office.
The UVF men had denied involvement in the hold-up, in which pounds 50,000 was said to have been stolen, but loyalists said the UVF had established they were responsible.
The killing appears connected not with this episode but with another incident some weeks ago, when Stewart and his colleague fired shots at an ex-UVF member in another dispute over money.
Loyalists and security sources said they believed it was this ex-UVF member who was behind the attack on Stewart. They speculate that he believes the organisation would not seek revenge for the killing of a member who had been stood down in disgrace. A man and woman were yesterday in custody for questioning about the shooting.
A decade ago Stewart faced serious terrorist charges in a big "supergrass" case, but escaped conviction. His associate who was expelled with him last Friday took part in talks with government officials last year.
Mr Major, in agreeing to meet loyalist representatives in three weeks' time, specified that the meeting would only take place if the ceasefire held. He will meet the Ulster Democratic Party, which represents the Ulster Defence Association, and the Progressive Unionists, who speak for the UVF.
The Prime Minister and his Irish counterpart, John Bruton, have established fresh telephone contact over the faltering peace process. The latest exchanges were at the weekend, and concentrated on the timing of Sinn Fein's entry into all-party talks in the event of a ceasefire restoration on the part of their IRA allies.
Oscar Pistorius trial: Defence's own witness contradicts athlete's version of events
Oscar Pistorius trial: The case against Oscar Pistorius – and why the prosecution claims his story doesn't add up
Man ruins 38 million gallons of drinking water by urinating in Portland reservoir
Peaches Geldof dead: Private funeral for the family and friends of the socialite will take place next week
Shropshire criminals ‘using unmanned drones and infrared cameras to find illegal cannabis farms’ – and then steal from the growers
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
- 1 Are you turning into your dad? The top ten signs you've embraced dad-ism revealed as survey says 38 is age men turn into their father
- 2 Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'
- 3 Overheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Grace Dent on TV: Game of Thrones has jumped the shark
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...