Man shot dead in Ulster after attack on butcher

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The Independent Online
A MAN was killed in a day of violence in Belfast yesterday as a major loyalist figure was given five life sentences for involvement in the murders of five Catholics.

The man who died was a Protestant killed by republican gunmen as he stood on the loyalist Shankill Road. Three other men were wounded, two of them critically, in an attack which came two hours after loyalists shot a Catholic butcher. Brendan McAuley was shot three times in the chest in his shop at the junction of Falls Road and Donegall Road, and was last night seriously ill in hospital.

The SDLP MP for West Belfast, Dr Joe Hendron, said he was angry because Mr McAuley's request to police for a personal protection weapon had been refused.

Two hours later, in an apparent retaliatory shooting, Irish National Liberation Army gunmen drove into the Shankill district and opened fire on four men. Colin 'Crazy' Craig, of Conlig, Co Down, was killed, while three others were injured. Some of those shot are believed to have loyalist connections.

At Belfast Crown Court, Laurence George Maguire, 31, was given five life sentences together with a total of 480 years in jail when he admitted 41 terrorist offences which included murder, attempted murder, armed robbery and blackmail. He was the first person to be charged with directing terrorism.

Maguire, a member of the illegal Ulster Volunteer Force, made extensive statements to police after being arrested as he collected a rifle for an assassination attempt. He both ordered killings and took part in them.

In January of last year he took part in a shooting in which a 20-year-old Catholic and his father were killed in their home. Maguire admitted shooting the younger man in the head. A week later, the young man's fiancee took her own life. In September 1992, a gang organised by Maguire killed an elderly couple whose son was in prison for IRA offences.