Loyalists kill man 'involved in party death'

Click to follow
EXTREME LOYALISTS in Northern Ireland said yesterday that they had killed one of their own men because of his involvement in last week's savage murder of a woman beaten and shot in an illegal drinking den.

Ian Hamilton, 21, was found shot in the head in the loyalist Shankill Road district of Belfast yesterday morning. The illegal Ulster Volunteer Force said that he was one of its members. Security sources and loyalist sources said they believed more vengeance shootings could follow as the extreme loyalist organisations seek to distance themselves from last week's killing of 31-year-old Margaret Wright.

Miss Wright was badly beaten and finally shot in an illegal drinking den in the Donegall Road area of Belfast.

Twenty or more people were in the hall when Miss Wright was killed, and several dozen have since been questioned by police. Five men and a woman are to appear in court today on charges which include murder and membership of an illegal organisation.

Police sources have indicated that a number of other suspects for the murder had gone on the run, one of whom was Mr Hamilton, who came from the Woodvale district of the city.

The UVF said he had been 'summarily executed' after being picked up by an 'internal security' section of the organisation. A statement said Mr Hamilton had admitted shooting Miss Wright four times with a .38 calibre revolver.

Another of those being questioned by police is said to be a leading member of the Red Hand Commandos, a minor loyalist group with links to the UVF. The major groups, clearly afraid of losing popular support in the wave of revulsion following the Wright killing, have been attempting to dissociate themselves from the incident.

Other illegal drinking dens have been ordered to close by the terrorist organisations, while newly-painted graffiti in loyalist areas proclaims: 'Drug dealers will be shot dead.' It is widely known, however, that a number of leading loyalists have themselves been involved in drugs and in the backstreet dens.

Mr Hamilton's body was found by a postman beside a playground near pensioners' bungalows. Several hours later the loyalist club where Miss Wright had been killed was demolished by a mechanical digger. Local women clapped and cheered as the hall was torn down.