30 June 2005

Loyalist cleared of party murder


Jonathan Stewart was shot at a house in Manor Street, Belfast

An associate of Johnny Adair has been cleared of murdering a man at a party in north Belfast during a loyalist feud more than two years ago.

Wayne Dowie, 25, formerly of Manor Street, Belfast, was found not guilty of murdering Jonathan Stewart, 22.

When the verdict was given there was uproar in the public gallery as members of Mr Stewart's family and friends tried to attack Mr Dowie in the dock.

The judge described the murder as a "calculated execution".

Mr Dowie had always denied the murder during the bloody feud between the mainstream UDA and Adair's breakaway 'C' Company.

On Thursday, Mr Justice McLaughlin said the UDA feud which claimed his life had involved two factions who both demonstrated murderous ruthlessness.

However, the judge told the Belfast court that the prosecution evidence was so weak that he could place no reliable foundation upon it.

Court uproar

He found Wayne Dowie not guilty and told him he was free to leave.

There was immediate uproar in the public gallery as Jonathan Stewart's family and friends attempted to break into the reinforced glass dock, shouting abuse and threats at Mr Dowie, who was ushered away by security officers.

There were further angry scenes in the street outside the Laganside court complex, and the police were called.

Mr Stewart's brother Jake and sister Lilian told the BBC that the family was devastated at the verdict, and they feared that it may re-ignite the feud within the UDA.

The murder was linked to a feud between elements of the UDA although Mr Stewart was not a member of any paramilitary organisation.

Comments: Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?