Northern Ireland

NI newspaper review: Dog 'acid attack' and a UDA feud

Newsletter Image copyright Newsletter

A loyalist feud that led to murder and a claim that the IRA fired at soldiers in a "notorious 1971 bloodbath" feature on the front of Friday's newspapers.

The Belfast Telegraph leads with the acquittals of three men charged with gun attack killing in a Ulster Defence Association (UDA) feud.

They appeared in court in Belfast on Thursday and were found not guilty of murdering loyalist George Gilmore in Carrickfergus, County Antrim in 2017.

Mr Gilmore was shot while driving and died in hospital as a result of a brain injury caused by a bullet.

Image caption George Gilmore died after being shot in Carrickfergus in March 2017

County Antrim men, David McMaw, 30, from Starbog Road in Larne, and his brother Darren McMaw, 34, from Kilgreel Road in Antrim, were cleared.

Brian McClean, 37, of Valetta Park in Newtownards, County Down was also found not guilty.

The judge said evidence against them - including that of Mr Gilmore's son - was "incapable of belief."

The Belfast Telegraph reports that the verdict was met with cheers from the defendants in the dock along with associates inside and outside the courtroom.

'Distraught' over acid attack on pet dog

In the Irish News, the owner of a dog who had to be put down after being attacked with acid in Newry says she is terrified of returning home.

Four-year-old Patch was left with a number of injuries as a result of what a vet said was the "worst case of animal cruelty" he had ever seen.

Eilise Ni Cormaic, who's daughter Seanna Thornton owned the dog, tells the paper her family have been left "distraught".

Image caption Liam Fitzsimons says the attack was worst case of animal cruelty he has seen in 30 years

Ms Ni Cormaic says that while she and her daughter were visiting family, the dog was taken from their garden and turned up a short distance away with terrible injuries.

The newspaper reports that Ms Ni Cormaic says that the attack has left her daughter and her two-year-old grandson Brian so scared they have not returned home.

She adds: "We are actively looking for a new home for my daughter to move to as she is adamant she won't be staying."

Ballymurphy cover-up suggestions 'preposterous'

The inquest into the deaths of 10 people at Ballymurphy in west Belfast almost 50 years ago is the News Letter's lead.

They were killed in shootings between 9 and 11 August 1971 after the introduction of internment.

Image caption An inquest is examining the deaths of 10 people killed in shootings at Ballymurphy in August 1971

It reports on the evidence given to the inquest on Thursday by Sir Mike Jackson, the former head of the Army.

He was a captain with 1 Para based at Palace Barracks in Holywood, County Down, at the time.

Sir Mike told the inquest that he had "absolutely no doubt" that the IRA fired at security force personnel.

He said that soldiers posted Northern Ireland had faced a "very volatile, very violent" situation in which it was a matter of when, not if they would be bombed or shot at.

Sir Mike added that the suggestion of a cover-up around the killings was "preposterous".

Apology after 'brave officers' comment

Finally, in the Irish News once again, the Police Service of Northern Ireland's chief constable has apologised to the parents of a school boy killed in the St Patrick's Day disco crush at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown, County Tyrone.

Image copyright Euphoria Allstar Cheerleading/Family/Edendork GAC
Image caption Lauren Bullock, 17, Morgan Barnard, 17, and 16-year-old Connor Currie, died after the incident at the hotel on 17 March

The apology came when George Hamilton met the parents of Morgan Barnard, who was one of the three teenagers who died.

James Bradley and Maria Barnard asked for the meeting after Mr Hamilton referred to the police who arrived at the scene and then withdrew before later returning as "brave".

Police said they made more attempts to find out about the situation before intervening.

Speaking about the meeting, Mr Hamilton said he "expressed deep regret in any comment I have made in relation to the incident which may have caused the family further stress".