Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Daughter's shock at how UDA dad died

The nine-year-old daughter of senior UDA figure George Legge has been inconsolable since inadvertently learning of her father's gruesome murder on television, her mother said today.

The nine-year-old daughter of senior UDA figure George Legge has been inconsolable since inadvertently learning of her father's gruesome murder on television, her mother said today.

Heartbroken Ashleigh Kirkwood was not told about her former partner's inquest, which took place earlier this week, and was left stunned and outraged when her daughter heard about the murder on a news report on Tuesday evening.

The coroner at Legge's inquest compared the "barbaric" murder to those carried out by the Shankill Butchers 30 years ago after hearing how the 37-year-old east Belfast man's throat was slit and he was stabbed 15 times in the back.

His mutilated body was discovered in a field in Carryduff the day before he had been due to celebrate his daughter's fourth birthday.

Until this week, Ms Kirkwood had managed to shield her daughter, Anastasia Legge, from details of her father's horrific death and she has demanded to know who is responsible for the apparent blunder which has caused she and her daughter unimaginable suffering.

A spokeswoman for the Northern Ireland Courts Service said she could not comment on specific cases but added: "The selection of necessary witnesses for an inquest is a matter for the coroner.

"The practice is to formally summon witnesses to attend court but on occasion this proves impossible where, for example, a person has relocated and their forwarding address is unknown."

However, in an interview with the Belfast Telegraph in which Legge's traumatised daughter clung to her mother, Ms Kirkwood rejected claims that she could not be contacted ahead of the inquest.

Ms Kirkwood has struggled to come to terms with the murder and subsequently fled Northern Ireland after receiving death threats but returned temporarily as she was expecting to give evidence at the inquest.

"If I had known when the inquest was I would have been there and I would have known not to let Anastasia watch the television," she said.

"She didn't know her daddy was murdered, let alone how he died because I didn't think she was old enough to be told.



"I have made a complaint to the Police Ombudsman."

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