Gunmen get life for Maze killing

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The Independent Online
THREE REPUBLICANS smiled as they were jailed for life yesterday for the murder of the loyalist terror chief Billy Wright in the Maze prison near Belfast last December.

Giving judgment on Christopher McWilliams, John Kennaway and John Glennon - all members of the INLA republican terror group - Mr Justice Kerr said: "The unchallenged evidence presented by the Crown constituted a formidable, overwhelming and unanswerable case against each of the three accused, that they, acting in consort or in support of each other, took part in the well-planned and murderous attack on William Wright when he and they were inmates at HMP Maze."

He also told the men at the end of their two-day trial that the combined identification, forensic and fingerprint evidence "permits no conclusion other than" that each of them had either fired the fatal shots or played a material part in the attack. The judge, sitting at Downpatrick Crown Court for security reasons, also jailed them for 20 years for possessing the guns used in the shooting.

The INLA men shot dead the Loyalist Volunteer Force leader as he sat in a prison van that was about to take him to the visiting area of the jail on the outskirts of Belfast. He was shot at least three, but possibly seven times, as he vainly tried to ward off his attackers by kicking out at them.

Before the shooting, McWilliams and Kennaway, both aged 35, and Glennon, 32, all from Belfast, had cut their way through a prison fence and then climbed a wall and over a roof into the compound where Mr Wright was waiting to be taken on his visit.

McWilliams told police: "Billy Wright was executed for one reason and one reason only, and that was for directing his campaign of terror against the nationalist people from his prison cell."