Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A former senior Orangeman has lost an appeal against a conviction for the 2001 murder of a Protestant man he thought was a Catholic

BBC News:

Trevor Lowry, 49, was beaten to death in an alley in Glengormley.

Harry Speers, 47, Carntall Road, and Ronald Craig, 22, Richmond Avenue, both Newtownabbey, were convicted of his murder in 2004.

A judge described Speers as a dominant figure who encouraged younger people and then lied to exclude himself.

Craig, who was only 16 at the time of the murder, also lost his appeal.

Mr Lowry was a Protestant, but police said at the time that his attackers believed he was a Catholic and had been lured into the alley in Harmin Drive where he was attacked.

Appeal Court judge Sir Michael Nicholson said the picture that emerged of Speers, a former Orange Order district master, clearly pointed to someone who was not merely a callous bystander but was a participant or encourager.

Speers did not give evidence at his trial and Sir Michael said: "The only sensible explanation was that he had no answer to the case against him, or one that could stand up to cross-examination."

Speers had been ordered to serve at least 15 years in jail and Craig 11 years. Their appeals against the sentences will be heard later.

UDA prison stand-off

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