Loyalist killer jailed for 16 years

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The loyalist Michael Stone has been jailed for 16 years for the attempted murders of the Sinn Fein leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness.

Stone, who has already served 12 years for murdering six Catholics, was caught on television cameras as he tried to burst into Belfast's Stormont parliament and attack the republicans in 2006.

The judge rejected his bizarre defence that the incident, in which he carried a panoply of weapons, had been not an assassination attempt but an act of performance art. Stone, 53, was convicted of seven other charges relating to the Stormont attack, including possession of nail bombs, knives, a garrotte, an axe, and of causing criminal damage to the building.

Mr Justice Deeney, passing sentence, said: "He could hardly have a worse criminal record." But he decided not to give Stone a life term since his actions had not caused serious injury.

The killer had been released under the 1998 Good Friday Agreement on licence while serving life on a 30-year tariff. Even after his 16-year sentence ends, he can be held indefinitely by ministerial order.

Stone has been a restless and erratic figure since his release, and may well wish to return to jail. The judge acknowledged that Stone has a degenerative muscle-wasting condition, which will mean he will have to use a wheelchair.