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16 October 2014
BBC NI - Eyewitness

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Billy Giles joined the UVF in 1975 and murdered a Catholic workmate in 1982. He committed suicide in 1998 shortly after he contributed this interview to Peter Taylor's BBC television series 'Loyalists' Image of Billy Giles

For many loyalists, killing Catholics was easy. They pulled the trigger and then went home. But not so Billy Giles. He could not live with what he had done.

When it happened, it felt to me that, that somebody had reached down inside me and ripped, ripped my insides out. That's what it felt like. It felt as if somebody had just put their hand down in through my head and just ripped the inside out of me, and I was empty - I felt empty.

You hear a bang and it's too late. You hear the bang and that's it. It's too late then, you've went, you've went somewhere you've never been before and it's not a very nice place and you can't, you can't stop it, it's too late then.

Did you ever come back from that place?

No. No. Never felt a whole person again. Never felt, never felt like that again. So I lost something that day I don't think I'll ever get back.

Billy Giles graduated while in the Maze prison. He was released after serving fifteen years. Last September he hanged himself. He left behind a suicide note. 'I was a victim too', he wrote, 'please let our next generation live normal lives. Tell them of our mistakes and admit to them our regrets. I've decided to bring this to an end now, I'm tired.'

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