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Last Updated: Friday, 26 January 2007, 16:07 GMT
Leading LVF man jailed for murder
William Fulton
William James Fulton was jailed for 48 offences
A leading member of the Loyalist Volunteer Force has been sentenced to 28 years for the murder of Portadown grandmother Elizabeth O'Neill.

William James Fulton, 38, of Queen's Walk, Portadown, was jailed for 48 terrorist offences including attempted murder of four police officers.

Mrs O'Neill, 59, died in an explosion at her home in the mainly loyalist Corcrain estate in Portadown in 1999.

Mr Justice Harte ordered Fulton to serve a minimum of 25 years.

His lawyers had argued at Belfast Crown Court that he should not serve more than 20 years because that was the longest term other paramilitary prisoners served during the Troubles.


He was also sentenced to 28 years for the attempted murder of four police officers during the Drumcree dispute in 1998.

His co-accused, Muriel Gibson, 57, with an address at Clos Trevithick in Cornwall, was sentenced to eight years for LVF membership and destroying evidence following the murder of Adrian Lamph in 1998.

Mr Lamph, a council worker, was murdered in April 1988.

Mrs O'Neill died after picking up a bomb which had been thrown at her home where she had been watching television.

Passing sentence on Fulton, the judge said: "His culpability for what happened is greater than anyone else involved in this episode and I propose to sentence him accordingly.

"This was a very grave crime with many aggravating features and I think the minimum period necessary to satisfy the requirements of retribution and deterrence before he can be considered for release is 25 years imprisonment."

After the trial, Mrs O'Neill's son Martin said although he was happy that justice had been done, those who made and threw the pipe bomb were still at large and should give themselves up.

The trial was the longest in Northern Ireland's legal history.

Tara Mills reports from Belfast Crown Court

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