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Saturday, March 20, 1999 Published at 08:13 GMT


Slain loyalist laid to rest

The gunmen may have escaped down the Shankill Road

Frankie Curry, the loyalist who was shot dead in Belfast's Shankill Road area on Wednesday, is due to be buried on Saturday.

The Royal Ulster Constabulary believes the 45-year-old former Red Hand Commando, a nephew of veteran loyalist leader Gusty Spence, was killed by a lone gunman near his mother's home.

[ image: Frank Curry had been shot several times in the head]
Frank Curry had been shot several times in the head
Loyalist sources have suggested the shooting was part of an internal feud and not a republican revenge attack for the murder of nationalist lawyer Rosemary Nelson on Monday.

The dissident Red Hand Defenders have claimed responsibility for that car-bomb attack.

The killing of Mr Curry on Wednesday happened as thousands of people gathered in Belfast for St Patrick's Day celebrations.

Witnesses saw a man running up the Shankill Road after about five shots were fired.

Mr Curry's body was found behind the Pony Trotting Supporters Sports and Social Club. He had been shot several times in the back of the head.

The body of the murdered man, who leaves a wife, Karen, and daughter, Erin, will be taken from the home of his mother, Cassie, for burial at Roselawn cemetery.

The Search for Peace
Mr Curry, who had served a string of sentences for terrorism, was only released from prison on Monday after serving a sentence for a motoring offence.

Pastor Kenny McClinton, the Loyalist Volunteer Force's go-between with the arms decommissioning body, said the Ulster Volunteer Force probably killed Mr Curry.

But Mr Spence, who is close to the UVF leadership, denied the organisation carried out the killing.

John White, of the Ulster Democratic Party, which has links with the Ulster Defence Association and Ulster Freedom Fighters, said he was convinced neither paramilitary group was involved.

Mr White, who runs a prisoners' aid centre on the Shankill Road, was one of the last people to see Frankie Curry alive.

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