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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 August 2006, 11:28 GMT 12:28 UK
Loyalist bar killing 'horrific'
george legge
George Legge was stabbed and had his throat cut
The murder of a loyalist paramilitary leader in Belfast harked back to the notorious Shankill Butchers gang 30 years ago, an inquest has heard.

George Legge, 37, a former UFF leader, was found dead in a field near Carryduff in January 2001.

His throat was slit and he had suffered multiple stab wounds.

The inquest heard he was killed in an east Belfast bar owned by one time associate Jim Gray, who was shot dead last October.

At the time of his death, Legge was said to have been a senior member of the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) who had reportedly fallen out of favour in the months before his death.

I have been acting as coroner long enough to remember the Shankill Butchers and looking at this brings back memories of how their victims were treated
John Leckey
Coroner

Coroner John Leckey, who heard the victim's throat had been slit with a six inch knife, said it was the worst case he had seen since the Shankill Butchers' reign of terror during the Troubles.

He said: "I have been acting as coroner long enough to remember the Shankill Butchers and looking at this brings back memories of how their victims were treated.

"It really is dreadful, dreadful injuries.

"It's a sobering thought that the person or persons responsible for this horrific murder are still walking the streets."

Gray, another leader, owned the Bunch of Grapes pub where Legge was believed to have been murdered, Detective Inspector Michael McErlane told the inquest.

Stabbed

Gray was one of five men later questioned about the murder, but never charged.

The Shankill Butchers was a ruthless gang of loyalists who in the mid-70s toured the streets of north and west Belfast, kidnapping Catholics, torturing and stabbing them with butchers' knives.

The inquest heard how the killers disposed of evidence of the murder by removing a carpet from Gray's pub, which police believed would have been covered in blood.




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Watch a report on the inquest



SEE ALSO
Funeral of murdered loyalist
11 Jan 01 |  Northern Ireland
Vehicles removed in murder inquiry
09 Jan 01 |  Northern Ireland

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