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shock revelation Trio of violent loyalists given weapons training by British Army in east Belfast

Michael Stone, ‘Person U’ in the Sean Graham’s bookies massacre, and Gorman McMullan were all trained in the same Army Cadet hall

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Michael Stone

Michael Stone

Michael Stone

A trio of Protestant paramilitaries – linked to some of the worst atrocities of the Troubles – were taught to fire deadly machine-guns by the British Army.

The shocking revelation comes after the release of a Police Ombudsman report into dozens of loyalist murders which concluded collusive security force behaviour was rife.

And the Sunday World can reveal that all the three men were given weapons training in the same Army Cadet hall in the heart of east Belfast.

They are:

  • ‘Person U’ identified last week as the lead gunman in the recently published Police Ombudsman’s Report into the murders at Sean Graham’s Bookies Shop in 1992, when five people died;
  • Michael Stone, jailed for the infamous gun and bomb attack during an IRA funeral at Milltown Cemetery in 1988 when three people died;
  • And Gorman McMullan, who was named in the film No Stone Unturned as a suspect in the Loughinisland massacre, when six Catholic men were shot dead as they watched the World Cup finals on TV in 1994.

All three later joined the ruthless Red Hand Commando loyalist terror group. But their initial arms training was supplied courtesy of the British Army Cadet Corps.

‘Person U’, Stone and McMullan were teenagers when they joined up and learned how to handle deadly rifles and machine-guns.

But last week, Loughinisland massacre suspect McMullan (68) was tight-lipped when quizzed about his days as a boy soldier in the army Cadet Corps.

McMullan told this reporter: “Listen Jordan, away and ‘F’ yourself!”

Originally from Clarawood off the Knock dual carriageway, McMullan and ‘Person U’ were childhood friends with Michael Stone, who lived in the nearby Braniel estate.

In a small army drill hall at the end of Slate Lane, Orangefield the future loyalist terrorists learned how to drill and handle guns.

But it was on trips to Ballykinlar Army Camp in Co Down and another on the Isle of Man that they really developed the deadly skills which prepared them for their future roles as loyalist gunmen.

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Gorman McMullan

Gorman McMullan

Gorman McMullan

At the outbreak of the Troubles, ‘Person U’, Stone and McMullan all quit the Cadet Corps to join the Red Hand Commando, based in the Braniel estate.

As the Troubles developed, ‘Person U’ – the future bookies shop killer – was arrested over the intimidation of seven Catholic families living in Braniel.

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But he escaped prosecution and walked free from the police station as a mystified Catholic man who had reported him looked on.

A former Catholic resident now believe this may have been the moment ‘Person U’ was signed up as a police tout.

“My father identified ‘Person U’ as the thug who forced our family out. He made a statement to the police and ‘Person U’ was arrested, but he was released almost immediately,” one man told us.

He later quit the RHC to join the Ulster Freedom Fighters, the military section of the UDA.

And it was as a member of the UFF that his murder career began.

Gorman McMullan was one of six loyalists convicted of blowing up the Catholic-owned Hillfoot Bar on the edge of the Braniel estate in September 1972. He was jailed for eight years.

Last week, Police Ombudsman Marie Anderson roundly condemned what she called the ‘collusive behaviour’ of RUC officers investigating a string of UFF murders in south Belfast.

Twenty-seven Catholics lost their lives – and dozens more were injured – when murder gangs from the Ulster Freedom Fighters sprung a series the terror attacks in south Belfast.

Despite being jailed for his part in an unrelated loyalist murder bid, ‘Person U’ has never spent a single day behind bars in connection with the bookies shop slaughter.

Former leading loyalist paramilitaries told the Sunday World how they are now convinced ‘Person U’ was working for a state security agency when he pulled the trigger in Sean Graham’s bookies.

“We didn’t know it at the time – because we were too close to it all – but it’s so obvious now, ‘Person U’ was working for the state.

‘Person U’ is also believed to have been the loyalist gunman in the savage assassination of Catholic taxi driver Harry Conlon.

Mr Conlon, a 54-year-old father of four, was shot dead four months before the Sean Graham’s attack.

Person U’ is believed to be alive and well and living in mainland Europe

After two lengthy stints in prison, loyalist killer Michael Stones now lives in Co Down.

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