Northern Ireland

Paper Review: Supergrass sentencing, Darts sexism row

News Letter front page Image copyright News Letter

Two very different news stories dominate the front pages this morning.

The shocking story of the murder of retired teacher Robert Flowerday in County Antrim leads all bar one of the papers.

The 64-year-old was was found dead at his Crumlin home on Sunday evening. The Belfast Telegraph says the "true gentleman" from Crumlin was a "central part of the community".

The paper reports there are increased fears for the elderly after the incident.

It says there has been speculation that it could have been a "burglary gone wrong".

The Daily Mirror describes Mr Flowerday as "well-known" in Crumlin and says he was often seen riding his bike around the area.

The News Letter quotes the "heartbroken and devastated messages" from his pupils on social media. "Thank you for how you encouraged me in the past," says one post.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Gary Haggarty, 45, was sentenced for more than 200 offences, including five murders

The headline in The Irish News introduces the other big story of the day: "How Special Branch recruited loyalist and allowed him to murder at will".

The outrage at the sentence received by loyalist supergrass Garry Haggarty is covered by every paper.

Haggarty, 45, was a former leader of an Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) unit in north Belfast who admitted the murders of five people among hundreds of offences.

On Monday, he had a 35-year jail term reduced to six-and-a-half years for helping the police.

The Daily Mirror's front page focuses on the "agony" of the families after the sentence.

The News Letter. quotes the son of a UVF murder victim. Kieran Fox, whose father Eamon Fox was shot dead in a Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) murder in May 1994, asks: "What justice in this country?

"How can a man convicted of that many crimes be set free?"

Haggarty's evidence has led to one person being charged with murder.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Daryl Gurney doesn't care that he has to walk it alone

Inside the paper, there's a sports sexism row brewing.

Darts players have long been escorted to the stage by "walk-on girls".

However it's a practice that has recently been abandoned and a local darts player says he's not bothered by the decision.

Londonderry player Daryl Gurney lent his support to the Professional Darts Corporation's decision to have no "walk-on girls" at the weekend's Masters tournament in Milton Keynes.

The News Letter says the Ulster darts star won't miss them. In fact he says: "They get in they way when you're doing the walk-on".

However not everyone is as indifferent as Mr Gurney. The paper reports that a petition to keep the tradition has gained tens of thousands of signatures.


The Irish News says paramilitary-style shootings are getting worse and harder to treat.

Dr Duncan Redmill, who works at the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH), tells the paper he treated two men shot within an hour of each other at the weekend.

He warned of the "absolutely catastrophic" impact of attacks and the long-term mental health problems they can cause.

Dr Redmill says he has seen about 100 paramilitary-style attacks over the past 20 years.

"When they aim behind the knees it can be catastrophic and if they aim straight for the ankles, they are intending to injure bones - much more disabling".


Now for a good news story (is there such a thing?)

The Belfast Telegraph reports that a midwife who works at the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald has just been crowned "Midwife of the Year" in Northern Ireland.

Heather Campbell received the award from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM).

The mum who nominated her, Rachel Leonard, says the midwife "has a way of making you feel special and reassures you, no matter what".

Midwife Campbell says she feels "incredibly lucky" to accept the award.

"It is a true honour," she says.