Stone claims Stormont raid was 'art'

Paramilitary killer gives extraordinary defence at trial for attempted murder

The loyalist paramilitary Michael Stone yesterday denied trying to kill the leaders of Sinn Fein and insisted his attempt to force his way into Stormont carrying a small armoury of weapons was not terrorism but "an act of performance art".

Stone, 53, who has previously served 12 years of a life sentence for six killings, is charged with attempting to murder Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness at the Stormont parliament in Belfast in 2006.

He was detained at the building's front doors by two security guards. The episode caused a major security incident because republican and unionist leaders were attending a meeting of the Belfast Assembly a short distance away. In addition to attempted murder, he faces charges of possessing an imitation firearm, nail and pipe bombs, three knives, a hatchet and a garrotte.

An army bomb disposal expert testified that in a bag flung into the building by Stone, he had found 12 fireworks, firelighters and a two-litre plastic bottle filled with petrol, as well as four pipe bombs filled with nails. The expert said that these were sufficient to cause a considerable blast had they been used.

The two security guards have testified that when Stone appeared they believed he was a suicide bomber. Susan Porter said Stone "pulled a gun and held it to my face", telling her to move back or he would shoot her. She leapt forward and managed to take the gun away from him.

Offering an unusual defence at Belfast Crown Court, Stone claimed the incident, which was televised, was "a comic parody" meant to "put a rocket up the backsides" of politicians. He said he did not intend to harm anyone, especially Martin McGuinness as "he would be the last man I would target because he was a security force asset". He said his "performance protest" was aimed at helping the peace process.

Stone came to public attention in 1988 after a one-man attack on a republican funeral in which he killed three mourners with a revolver and hand grenades. He was released 12 years later when most prisoners were freed in a political settlement. Since then he has often courted publicity. The court heard that, in a letter to a Belfast journalist, Stone had said he planned to "slit the throats" of the republican leaders.

He added that by the time the letter was received he expected to be deceased or about to spend the rest of his life in prison.

The letter went on: "I don't intend withdrawing from my mission when, as a freelance dissident loyalist paramilitary, I set out to assassinate the Irish republican war criminals Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness."

The case continues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions