Page last updated at 18:03 GMT, Thursday, 21 May 2009 19:03 UK

Press man beaten at UVF funeral

Shankill Butcher William Moore
A photographer covering the funeral of William Moore was attacked

A press photographer has been treated in hospital after being attacked by a gang at the funeral of a UVF killer.

William Moore, 60, a member of the Shankill Butchers' gang, was found dead in his flat in Mount Vernon on Sunday.

The group of loyalist killers conducted a sectarian reign of terror against Catholics in Belfast between 1976 and 1978, killing at least 10 people.

A gang of about six men attacked a photographer covering his funeral on Thursday afternoon.

Alan Lewis of the Northern Ireland Press Photographers Association said that he had been told that the man was surrounded and beaten.

He said that the photographer had been using a long lens to get pictures of the funeral and was attacked when he got out of the car. Some camera equipment was also taken.

"I gather it's not life threatening but it was a severe beating he took," Mr Lewis said.

The media had been advised by police to stay away from the funeral.

Moore was given 11 life sentences for his role in the gang's murders.

Led by Lennie Murphy, many of the Shankill Butchers' victims were Catholic men, abducted in a taxi as they walked home from pubs in the city centre.

The gang got its name from the butchers' knives used to torture and kill its victims whose mutilated bodies were later dumped in loyalist parts of the city.

The police initially failed to link the killings but eventually caught up with the gang, several of whose members had links with the Ulster Volunteer Force.

Several members of the gang, including Moore, Sam McAllister and Robert "Basher" Bates, were jailed for life in 1979 but Murphy, who was already in prison on a lesser charge, was eventually killed by the IRA in 1982.

Moore, a butcher by trade, had supplied knives used by the UVF to mutilate their victims.

During his trial the court heard he committed throat cuttings himself, and encouraged the gang to torture victims.

He was released from prison in 1998 under the Good Friday Agreement after serving 19 years in prison.

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