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Michael Stone's son jailed for assault

A "BULLY boy" son of loyalist assassin Michael Stone, who crippled a school friend in an argument over a crashed car, was jailed today for seven years.

A "BULLY boy" son of loyalist assassin Michael Stone, who crippled a school friend in an argument over a crashed car, was jailed today for seven years.

Mr Justice Shiel branded 21-year-old Gary Stone a "bully" and told him his "unprovoked assault" on his friend Jonathan Bowers - who was in a coma for five months - was both a "premeditated and savage attack".

He added: "You have condemned him to a life sentence of disability."

Stone, from Cumnock Walk, Ballybeen, in Dundonald, was originally charged with attempted murder.

But the charge was not proceeded with after he admitted causing Mr Bowers grievous bodily harm on July 22, 2000.

The Downpatrick Crown Court judge, sitting in Belfast, told Stone his guilty plea had been "belated".

Mr Justice Shiel also told Stone that his "name, because of your father, gave you a notoriety and helped to create a set of values and attitudes which have underpinned your potential for this type of offence".

The court had heard that Stone "mounted a vendetta against Mr Bowers" after he had crashed his car two months earlier, and decided to "extract retribution".

Mr Justice Shiel said after an initial attack Mr Bowers fled to England, but that "on his return to Northern Ireland you decided that you would punish him further".

As Mr Bowers left an east Belfast garage, Stone struck again, "felled him" and "then proceeded to kick him about the body and head while he lay defenceless on the ground," said the judge.

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