Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 28 March 2015

Asda worker shot catholic brothers in the head

John and Thomas McErlane. Shot dead by gunmen in a flat in Mount Vernon Green, Belfast.  Police carry out one of the brothers bodies from the flat.  23/5/1975
John and Thomas McErlane. Shot dead by gunmen in a flat in Mount Vernon Green, Belfast. Police carry out one of the brothers bodies from the flat. 23/5/1975
John McErlane. Shot dead by gunmen in a flat in Mount Vernon Green, Belfast. 23/5/1975.
Thomas McErlane. Shot dead by gunmen in a flat in Mount Vernon Green, Belfast. 23/5/1975.
Gerard McErlane looks at pictures of his sons Thomas and John who were murdered in North Belfast.
Images from the Belfast Telegraph's Troubles GalleryThe murder of lawyer Pat Finucane by loyalists. 1989
Funeral of lawyer Pat Finucane, murdered by loyalists. 1989. Pacemaker
Scene of the shooting of Pat Finucane, murdered by loyalists. 1989. Pacemaker
The body of catholic man lies in an entry off the Shankill Road in West Belfast after being murdered by members of the Shankill butchers. 25/10/82. Pacemaker Press
Con Neeson who was killed by the Shankill butchers in the late 70's. Pacemaker Press
William Moore aka Shankill Butcher gang member. Pacemaker Press
Shankill Butcher Edward McIlwaine. Pacemaker Press
Robert "Basher" Bates: Shankill butcher
Shankill Butcher Lenny Murphy
A man with slashed wrists after an attack by the Shankill Butchers. Pacemaker Press
Some of the knives used by the Shankill Butchers in their attacks. Pacemaker Press
John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono raise their fists as they join a protest in front of British Overseas Airways Corp. offices in New York on Fifth Avenue, Feb 5th 1972. The demonstrators called for the withdrawal of British troops from Northern Ireland.
IRA Bomb attack on the La Mon House Hotel
La Mon House Hotel Provisional IRA Bomb Victim, Sandra Morris
La Mon House Hotel Provisional IRA Bomb Victim, Carol Mills
La Mon House Hotel Provisional IRA Bomb Victim, Christine Lockhart
SDLP press conference with John Hume, Gerry Fitt, Austin Currie and Paddy Devlin. 11/09/75
Behind the barbed wire of long kesh internment camp are SDLP MPs(from left)Paddy Devlin, Austin Currie, John Hume and Ivan Cooper. They were visiting internees. 21/09/71
Billy Wright ,loyalist fanatic who was shot dead in the Maze Prison, was leader of the renegade Loyalist Volunteer Force
Ulster Vanguard Movement: Ulster Vanguard Association Rally at Stormont. 29/03/72
William Craig:Leader of the Vanguard Unionist Progressive party.
Ulster Vanguard Movement: A section of the crowd at the Vanguard Association Rally at Ormeau Park. 18/03/72
Ulster Defence Association/U.D.A: 1972. Delegates at the talks between Vanguard, Ulster Defence Association and the Loyalist Association of Workers.
A man receiving attention during the shooting incident in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, which became known as Bloody Sunday, January 31, 1972.
Scenes from 'Bloody Sunday' in Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Stewart Gardner, Argylls second lieutenant of Dollar shot dead at Crossmaglen, Co Armagh. September 22nd 1972.
Government of Northern Ireland: The Executive. December 1973.
The Belfast Telegraph Troubles Gallery
The explosion of a bomb in the crowded central Belfast restaurant, the Abercorn, on 4th March 1972, was one of the most horrific incidents of the Northern Ireland violence. Two women were killed - 130 people injured.
The explosion of a bomb in the crowded central Belfast restaurant, the Abercorn, on 4th March 1972, was one of the most horrific incidents of the Northern Ireland violence. Two women were killed - 130 people injured.
The explosion of a bomb in the crowded central Belfast restaurant, the Abercorn, on 4th March 1972, was one of the most horrific incidents of the Northern Ireland violence. Two women were killed - 130 people injured.
The explosion of a bomb in the crowded central Belfast restaurant, the Abercorn, on 4th March 1972, was one of the most horrific incidents of the Northern Ireland violence. Two women were killed - 130 people injured.
Pictured is Jimmy Stewart, who lost both legs in the Abercorn Restaurant explosion. The explosion of a bomb in the crowded central Belfast restaurant, the Abercorn, on 4th March 1972, was one of the most horrific incidents of the Northern Ireland violence. Two women were killed - 130 people injured.
A casualty of the riots in Northern Ireland in 1972
Northern Ireland murder victim Irene Andrews who was murdered by John White on the 26th June 1973.
Belfast Fire Brigade Station officer McCleery, being carried from a bomb explosion, Cromac Street, circa 1971.
Peter Robinson of the DUP pictured in the Israeli Border Area with AK47 rifles while on a fact finding mission to the Middle East. Pacemaker Press Intl. Dec. 1984
Funeral of Walter Moore, who was shot while in a shop at the rear of Oldpark RUC base, Oldpark Road Belfast
Gordon Wilson. Irish Senator who's daughter Marie was a victim of the Ennieskillen Remembrance Day explosion in 1987. Pictured with his grandson Timothy.
The funeral of Marie Wilson, killed along with 10 others in no warning explosion during a Remembrance Day Service at Enniskillen Cenotaph. 8/11/1987
William Hughes who was killed in shooting incident due to a mistake by gunmen. The car they were sitting in near Coagh, Co. Tyrone looked like a police car. In the hail of gunfire directed at the car, William Hughes died. His daughter Ann and her fiance Malachy Foye were wounded.
Anglo Irish Agreement Protest Rally outside Belfast City Hall, with Unionists showing a united front. 'Ulster Says No'. 10/12/1985
The scene outside Graham's bookmakers shop, North Queen Street after a shooting where five men were injured. 29/04/1993
The scene outside Graham's bookmakers shop, North Queen Street after a shooting where five men were injured. 29/04/1993
Hugh O'Toole, owner of O'Tooles Bar (The Heights), Loughinisland, in which six men were shot dead watching the 1994 World Cup on television.
Reggie and Walter Chapman: Protestant brothers brutally murdered on a lonely roadside in S. Armagh. Kingsmill Massacre/Shooting. 5/1/1976. Their Bessbrook funeral. 8/1/1976.
Alan Black, a survivor of the Kingsmill, Armagh Massacre/Shooting, when he was shot with his 10 workmates in an ambush on their way home from work by gunmen. 5/1/1976
Unionist protests at visit to Belfast of Charles Haughey, former Taoiseach. Pictured are Peter Robinson, deputy leader of the DUP, intervening as Cedric Wilson is led away from the Europa. 11/4/1990.
Unionist protests at visit to Belfast of Charles Haughey, former Taoiseach. Pictured Rev Ian Paisley. 11/4/1990.
Mr Roddy Connolly of Bray, unveils a plaque at 420 Falls Road, Belfast, where his father, James Connolly, the 1916 leader, lived from 1907-10 while working in the north for the Irish Transport and General Workers Union. Connolly was born 100 years previous to the plague being unveiled (pictured here in 1968). The plaque was donated by MP Mr Gerry Fitt (also pictured).
Lord Gerry Fitt, founding member of SDLP and Civil Rights Organiser. Pic shows Gerry Fitt, then a republican MP, is held by police as the Civil Rights demonstrators clash with them in Duke Street, Londonderry. Pic includes nationalist leader Eddie mcAteer (centre) caught up in the struggle. 7/10/1968.
Ronnie Flanagan, former RUC chief constable
Richard Alan Baird (28) killed by a remote controlled bomb hidden in a parked van. The bomb was detonated when a RUC mobile patrol drove past in Bessbrook Co. Armagh. Also killed in the blast were Paul Gray (25) , Robert Lockhast (44) and Noel Webb (30) 17/4/1979
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams pictured canvassing with Martin McGuinness, Alex Maskey and Danny Morrison shortly after he was shot and injured in a UDA gun attack in Belfast city centre.
Scene where Michael Tighe (17) was shot dead by RUC when found with rifles in a shed in Lurgan. 24/11/1982.
An army bomb disposal expert in flameproof suit and padded body armour tackles an incendiary bomb at a clothing shop in the cetre of Belfast in 1984.
Crumlin Road Jail. The scene outside as traffic on the Crumlin road is searched by the RUC following the escape. 17/11/1971
RUC Constable Michael Frederick Leslie Marshall, killed in an IRA ambush in Beleek. Forensics examine Constable Marshall's Sierra 21.10.1989
A man is taken away by troops in the Markets area, Belfast as searches followed vicious shooting battles between gunmen and army. 11/8/1971.
Sir John Herman, former RUC chief constable and his bride Sylvia
Ian Paisley confronts an RUC officer when refused access to Duke Street where the Civil Rights parade went on. 10/10/1988
Banned Derry Civil Rights march broken up by RUC batons in presence of Gerry Fitt MP, three British Labour MPs and television crew. Two nights of rioting ensued. 5/10/1968
Banned Derry Civil Rights march broken up by RUC batons in presence of Gerry Fitt MP, three British Labour MPs and television crew. Two nights of rioting ensued. 5/10/1968.
RUC constable Victor Arbuckle who was shot during street disturbances on the Shankill Road Belfast. He was the first RUC man killed in the troubles. October 1969
Mrs Arbuckle, wife of constable Victor Arbuckle who was shot during the Shankill Road riots receives the Union Jack which covered the coffin during the funeral service at Roselawn Cemetry
Miami Showband massacre... A Ford Escort which was one of the cars used by loyalist gunmen, is left abandoned near the murder scene. 31/7/1975
Miami Showband murder scene at Buskhill, Newry 1975
Miami Showband
Darkley (Mountain Lodge Pentecostal Hall). The scene where three elders were shot dead by the INLA. The terrorists broke in during a church service. 20/11/1983
The children who escaped death by inches at Darkley, from left, Graham Ritchie, Helen Wilson, Nigel Wilson, Andrew Reid (standing) and Keith Ritchie, photographed the day after the INLA attack.
Sir John Hermon, the former Chief Constable of the RUC at the funeral of the RUC's 100th victim of the Troubles, Constable Neill Quinn. Newry 22/6/1081
Betty Williams, former leader of the NI Peace People, pictured with Mairead Corrigan.
UDA members being carried in a Land Rover along the Shankill Road. 22/05/72.
A soldier recieves first aid after being injured by debris after a car bomb exploded on the Crumlin Road. 29/05/72
Riots in Belfast.
UDR colleagues fire a volley of shots over the grave of Private Steven Smart, at Movilla Cemetary. Private Smart was killed along with three others after an IRA bomb blew up their Land Rover in Downpatrick. 13/04/90
Ballgawley Bus Bomb. The scene of the explosion. 20/08/88
Warrenpoint (Narrow Water Castle) where 18 soldiers were killed 27/8/1979. A grim reconstruction of the scene at narrow water, Warrenpoint. An Army helicopter flies in past a replica of the hay lorry which hid the first bomb. 31/8/1979.
Lisburn Fun Run, 6 soldiers killed. All that ramains of their van after a IRA bomb explosion. 15/6/1988.
Bomb blast at the Seaforde Street army post on Belfast's Newtownards Road. 17/09/1971
Bomb making lessons in the maze prison.
Rose and Crown Bar. Two men were killed and 27 injured when a bomb went off in the hallway of the bar. 2nd May 1974
North Street Arcade. A bomb exploded prematurely, killing four people and injuring twenty. 13th January 1976.
Ann Street. A huge bomb planted in a car had exploded causing extensive damage. 28th May 1972.
Abercorn Restaurant. The explosion of a bomb in the crowded central Belfast restaurant, the Abercorn , on 4th March 1972, was one of the most horrific incidents of the Northern Ireland violence. Two women were killed - 130 people injured.
Abercorn Restaurant. The explosion of a bomb in the crowded central Belfast restaurant, the Abercorn , on 4th March 1972, was one of the most horrific incidents of the Northern Ireland violence. Two women were killed - 130 people injured.
Abercorn Restaurant bomb. Tom McFarlane
Abercorn Restaurant bomb. Rosaleen McNern (right) who lost both legs, an arm and an eye - her sister Jennifer (left) lost both legs.
Sir Edward Carson inspecting the U.V.F 1913
Glory days: Sir Edward Carson rallying the unionist faithful
RUC policeman, DS John Bennison killed in booby trap car bomb in the grounds of Magee College, Londonderry. The coffin is carried from his home at Tyler Avenue, Limavady. 23.3.1987
The funeral of DI Austin Wilson, an RUC man killed in a booby trap car bomb in the grounds of Magee College, Londonderry. 23.3.1987
THE IRA FUNERAL ON THE FALLS ROAD OF ROSE CURRY, KILLED IN A PREMATURE BOMB EXPLOSION AT MERRION STREET, LOWER FALLS BELFAST
A child lies by a litter bin after an IRA bomb blast in Warrington town centre 1993
Steel helmeted police at a burning barricade across Shankill Road, Belfast, littered with stones and debris after a spree of rioting. 1969
Loyalists waving a Union Jack surround Home Secretary James Callaghan on the Shankill Road, Belfast. 28/8/1969.
The body of Joseph Donegan, discovered in an entry off Battenberg Street in Belfast's Shankill Road area, lies covered by a blanket. 25/10/1982.
Harry Ward was shot dead in The Diamond Jubilee Bar, Shankill Road, Belfast October 1991. Pictured is his sister Sadie, being led away from the scene.
DESMOND BOAL IS HELD ALOFT BY JUBILANT UNIONIST SUPPORTERS AT THE BELFAST CITY HALL AS THE RESULT OF THE SHANKILL BY-ELECTION IS ANNOUNCED. 17/2/1960
Troops and UDA members on joint patrol at Clon Duff Drive in Castlereagh Road area of Belfast, 1972.
The funeral of RUC man William Russell, shot while investgating a burglary at the Avoca Shopping Centre, Andersontown, Belfast
Hunger striker Bobby Sands coffin, flanked by an IRA colour party, leaving his mother's home in Twinbrook.
Bobby Sands' son Robert Gerald holds his mother's hand at the funeral of his father Bobby in west Belfast flanked by Masked IRA men. Picture by Martin Wright
Army engineers take away the fallen statue of the famous Protestant minister The Rev 'Roaring Hugh Hanna' after an early morning IRA bomb blast at Carlisle Circus. 3/3/1970
September 2005 Army landrovers burn during serious rioting in a loyalist area of west Belfast on Saturday following the re-routing of an Orange Order march. Automatic gunfire and blast bombs were used against the police and army and three armoured military vehicles were destroyed by the rioters. Picture by Crispin Rodwell
Drumcree by Tony Hendron
December 1971 An ambulance man carries the body of baby Colin Nicholl from the wreckage of the Balmoral Furnishing Company on the Shankill Road in Belfast following a 'no warning' Provisional IRA bomb which killed 2 babies and 2 adults as well as injuring scores of other people on a Saturday afternoon - just before Christmas. Picture by Alan Lewis
Tarred, feathered and tied to a lamppost. Picture by Trevor Dickson
Thomas McMullan's 2001 shot of a British Army robot detonating a van bomb.
Fr Daly waving a bloody handkerchief as he and several others carry the fatally wounded Jackie Duddy, 17, past British soldiers on January 30, 1972, known as Bloody Sunday. Picture by Stanley Matchett
Loyalist murderer Michael stone storms Stormont
August 1994 A young boy and soldier on the Springfield Road in west Belfast Picture by Pacemaker
Picture by Gerry Fitzgerald
April 1977 Gerry Fitt MP showing how he defended his home with a pistol after a mob attacked it. Picture by Charles Cockcroft
Former DUP leader Ian Paisley reacts to questioning from the media outside Castle Buildings
2000 A young girl looks on as Loyalist Paramilataries carry the remains of her father and their commander through the streets of Tigers Bay in north Belfast after he was was killed by Republicans. Picture by Cathal McNaughton
July 2001 An RUC man lies injured during a riot in Ardoyne before an Orange parade returns passed a Nationalist area on the 12th July 2001. Picture by Ann McManus
The Funeral of the Quinn Children Ballymoney. Picture by Alan McMullan
August 1998 A river of blood runs across the road as security forces and emergency services recover bodies from the scene of the Omagh Bomb. The 'Real IRA' carried out the no-warning attack on shoppers in the crowded County Tyrone market town killing 30 people (including unborn 8 month term twins). Picture by Photopress
An impromptu street demonstration in the Ravenhill area of east Belfast celebrates the collapse of the Power Sharing Executive following a loyalist wave of strikes and blockades acroos Northern Ireland. Picture by Justin Kernoghan
December 2002 Six year old twins Sean and Dean Fegan peer through the hole where their letterbox had been following an explosion which rocked their home early this morning in an attack claimed this afternoon by the loyalist Red Hand Defenders who had put a pipe bomb through their letterbox. The blast happened in a Catholic area of Oldpark Road in north Belfast. Picture by Justin Kernoghan
June 1997 Louis Johnston (7), in tears as he follows his dad's coffin from the family church in Lisburn, County Antrim. Constable David Johnston was one of two RUC community officers shot dead by the Provisional IRA in Lurgan, County Armagh just days before the IRA ceasefire was announced. Picture by Alan Lewis
Hundreds of thousands of Unionists crowded Belfast City Centre in a huge "Ulster Says No" rally against power sharing after a call by the Rev Ian Paisley and other Unionist leaders of the time. Picture by Photopress
A youth is arrested at gunpoint by a Paratrooper in Derry on Bloody Sunday Picture by Fred Hoare
July 2002 Children cover their ears and scream as UFF gunmen fire a volleys of shots on the Lower Shankill Road in Belfast as a giant bonfire lights up the area during the traditional celebrations of the eve of the "Twelfth". Picture by Alan Lewis
Ulster Vanguard Movement:September 1972.

An Asda employee at the centre of a row over The Sash is a double UVF killer who murdered two Catholic brothers more than 30 years ago.

William Hunter was reinstated to his job as a checkout operator at the company’s north Belfast store yesterday, days after being sacked for telling a driver to play the loyalist song.

His dismissal sparked four days of protests outside the store on the Shore Road, with supporters claiming he was “the salt of the earth” and “an asset to Asda”.

But it has been revealed that Hunter carried out one of the most brutal attacks of the Troubles, when he murdered John and Thomas McErlane after luring them to a flat in Mount Vernon.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph this morning, their brother Gerard McErlane said he was not convinced Hunter had changed.

“I was very annoyed when I heard about him wanting The Sash played,” he said.

“I said to myself he’s still a bigot, he’s still trying to incite hatred, especially in Asda where there’s a mixed community going in and out of it.

“People talk about him being friendly and the salt of the earth, but I know the way my brothers were set up to be killed. It was brutal, bigoted, sectarian murder. I wonder if Asda knew about him. I wonder what they will do about him.”

Asda declined to comment when contacted today, with a spokeswoman stating the company did not discuss individuals.

“We take care not to discuss our colleagues in public, particularly in matters that are clearly as sensitive as these,” she said.

Hunter, who has worked at the checkouts at Asda for seven years, was dismissed after claims he told a driver to play the Sash instead of pop music.

Protests were held outside Asda on the Shore Road on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Hunter won an appeal yesterday to return to his job after he “expressed regret” for “the unintentional offence caused” for his comments.

Billy Hutchinson, a former PUP Assembly member, who was among the demonstrators, had said Hunter was “really well-liked” and not the type of person to act in a sectarian manner.

Mr Hutchinson was not available for comment this morning.

John (29) and Thomas (19) were shot twice in the back of the head in 1975 while playing cards with Protestant work colleagues at a flat close to the Asda store where Hunter now works.

Two gunmen burst into the flat and ordered everyone there to lie on the floor. The two brothers were shot in the head as they lay on the ground. The murders were claimed by the Protestant Action Force, a cover name for the UVF.

Hunter was sentenced to life for what the trail judge described as “a dastardly act”, but was freed 14 years later. During the trial it emerged he and others had spent months trying to lure the victims to Mount Vernon.

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