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Last Updated: Monday, 10 March 2008, 21:06 GMT
Butcher gang survivor found dead
Sam McAllister
Sam McAllister was one of the gang identified by Mr McLaverty
A man who survived the Shankill Butchers gang and helped put them in jail has been found dead in his home.

Gerard McLaverty was left for dead by the UVF gang after being abducted in north Belfast and tortured in May 1977.

Despite having his wrists slashed he recovered and was able to identify some of his attackers. Members of the gang were later imprisoned for 19 murders.

Mr McLaverty was found by relatives at his flat in Crumlin on Monday. It is thought he may have had a heart attack.

The 50-year-old was a former Antrim Borough Council worker.

Police are not treating his death as suspicious.

Former RUC Chief Inspector Jimmy Nesbitt, who investigated the Butchers' crimes, told the Press Association Mr McLaverty was one of the bravest people he had met.

"It took real guts and courage (to identify the gang members).

"Had it not been for him, who knows how many other innocent people could have died," he said.

"Gerry was a harmless soul but he was a terrific lad, a victim of the circumstances of the time, and I'm sorry that his life has ended."

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