Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Mission to kill

In a chilling letter to Belfast Telegraph, Stone sets out Stormont assassination plan

Killer Michael Stone predicted he would meet his death at Stormont in a chilling letter sent to the Belfast Telegraph just hours before he launched his abortive bomb attack.

In the astonishing five-page letter, dated last Friday, Stone said his main targets during his attempt to storm a crucial meeting of the Assembly would be the Sinn Fein leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness.

The Milltown murderer is now being held in solitary confinement at Maghaberry. He is facing five attempted murder charges after his one-man offensive at Parliament Buildings, which ended with him being trapped in a revolving door and disarmed by two Stormont security staff.

In Stone's letter to the Telegraph - penned in block capitals - he revealed how his deadly plan was supposed to unfold in order that there would be " no confusion as to the objective of my mission".

Stone described himself as a "freelance dissident loyalist". He said that, by the time the Belfast Telegraph had received his letter, he would be in one of two positions.

"One, I will be in police custody with the events surrounding my arrest ensuring that I spend the rest of my natural life in prison. Two, that I am deceased . . . the latter in all probability."

He wrote that he would carry a replica handgun to "bluff my way past two security guards stationed at a desk behind a walk-through metal detector" .

He also claimed he would carry one large "flash bang device", seven nail bombs, three knives, an axe, a garrotte and a body armour vest.

The former UDA killer claimed that he would detonate the "flash bang device" in the Great Hall "to create panic and confusion as I move to my left and along the corridor towards the debating chamber and the two targets".

He said that, if the two Sinn Fein leaders were not in the debating chamber, he would move to the party's offices on the first floor of Stormont and would take "appropriate action to deter" security staff if they tried to disarm him.

The letter described in detail the location of the Sinn Fein office and claimed there was an "offensive tricolour" on the inside of the office window.

Also in the letter Stone claimed he was taking action because he believed there would be a united Ireland within 20 years.

He also wrote: "Not a round, not an ounce, lose the golf balls."

This is believed to be a reference to the UDA "brigadier" Jackie McDonald, reported to have played golf with Martin McAleese, the husband of President Mary McAleese.

Stone concludes his letter by stating: "I'm outgunned but I wouldn't have it any other way", and signs the letter using his nickname Flint.

The loyalist killer has had his early-release license revoked by Secretary of State Peter Hain following Friday's raid.

He was originally jailed in 1989 and told he must serve at least 30 years in jail for six UDA murders, including three at a republican funeral in Milltown Cemetery in 1988 - his first attempt to wipe out the Sinn Fein leadership. However, Stone was released on licence in 2000 under the terms of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

His former UDA colleagues, who once viewed Stone as a hero, have already distanced themselves from his actions of last week.

A UDA statement said: "The Ulster Defence Association had no prior knowledge of Stone's intention and it is becoming increasingly clear that he acted alone."

The paramilitary group said Stone had recently become "estranged" and branded him a "recluse".

Police investigating Stone's attempted bomb attack on the Assembly searched the home of a former girlfriend of the loyalist killer on Monday.

Officers carried out a detailed examination of the property in Belfast's Ballybeen estate.

Psychiatrists are examining Stone while he is being held in Maghaberry Prison.

Letter reveals targets were Adams and McGuinness

Michael Stone believed he would be killed during his abortive attack on Stormont.

In a five-page letter posted to the Belfast Telegraph on the same day that he attempted to storm a crucial meeting of the Assembly, Stone spells out how he intended to target Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness in the Stormont debating chamber.

If they weren't there, he says, he planned to make his way to the Sinn Fein office on the first floor of the building.

In the letter the Milltown killer outlines the weapons he was carrying - what he describes as a large "flash bang device", seven nail bombs, three knives, an axe and a garrotte.

He also reveals that he was wearing body armour and that he was acting alone - he describes himself as a "freelance dissident loyalist".

Stone says that he believed he would either end up, "in police custody with the events surrounding my arrest ensuring that I spend the rest of my natural life in prison", or "deceased € in all probability as I don't intend withdrawing from my mission".

Stone's motive appears to have been anger at the possibility of Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness being involved in a power sharing government.

He says: "These sectarian bigots are unworthy to hold political power in any form of democracy in Northern Ireland."

The letter is signed with Stone's distinctive signature and his trademark fingerprint.

Stone believed he was going to be killed

In a letter posted to the Belfast Telegraph on the same day that he launched his attack on Stormont, Milltown murderer Michael Stone has revealed that he believed he would be killed.

He says: "I will be in one of two positions. One, that I will be in police custody with the events surrounding my arrest ensuring that I spend the rest of my natural life in prison.

"Two, that I am deceased€the latter in all probability as I don't intend withdrawing from my mission as I did on the 16th of March 1988 when, as now, a freelance dissident loyalist paramilitary I set out to assassinate the Irish Republican war criminals Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness."

Stone confirms in the letter, which is signed with his distinctive signature and trademark fingerprint, that his "primary targets" were Sinn Fein leaders Adams and McGuinness.

Anger at their involvement in a potential power sharing deal appears to have been his motive.

He reiterates a phrase more usually associated with the Reverend Ian Paisley - "Never, never, never."

"Their very existence in politics," he adds, "is a prime example that Irish Republicanism pays."

He goes on: "To those the great and the good, the pious and the self-righteous to whom Ulster Troubles have been nothing more than a 'nice little earner' - think before you speak as you queue up for your 10-second condemnation of my actions.

"Condemn me if you are willing to die for your political beliefs, your country, for Ulster. If not put up or shut up."

To those whom he describes as his "former comrades" he says - in an apparent reference to UDA brigadier Jackie McDonald - "Never forget what that leading South Belfast loyalist said some four years ago.

"There will be a united Ireland within 20 years ... That's 16 years to prepare for a civil war."

'Equipment' and objectives revealed

In his letter to the Belfast Telegraph, Milltown killer Michael Stone says he is writing it, "to ensure that there is no confusion as to the objective of my mission."

He outlines in a list what he describes as the "Equipment (improvised)" he had with him on Friday. The list was signed with his nickname, Flint.

It begins with:

"1 x replica handgun - to bluff my way past the two security guards stationed at a desk behind a walk-through metal detector positioned to the left hand side of the large hall as I pass through the revolving door."

In the event, of course, Stone didn't actually get beyond the revolving door - having been disarmed and pinned down by the two security guards he intended to "bluff" his way past.

He was also carrying, he says:

"1 x large "flash bang device" contained in a hand luggage flight bag; 7 x nail bombs; 3 x knives; 1 x axe; 1 x garrotte; body-armour vest."

He describes how he intended to detonate the "flash-bang device" in "the centre of the large hall ... 'Warning Given' € to create panic and confusion as I move to my left and along the corridor towards the debating chamber and the two targets€"

Should the targets not be in the chamber, he adds, he intended to make his way to the Sinn Fein office on the first floor.

He noted that, if a second security team stationed nearby were to attempt to disarm or detain him, "I will take appropriate action to deter them."

He describes the Sinn Fein office as being on the "first floor of the buildings, right hand side, fifth window along with offensive Tricolour inside the window of the office€"

The letter, penned in Stone's usual block capital handwriting, is signed with his own name, his nickname and his trademark thumbprint.

The tone is pseudo-military and ends with the dramatic declaration: " I'm out gunned but I wouldn't have it any other way."

As it turned out, Stone wasn't actually outgunned.

Ironically, he was disarmed and detained at the revolving door by two unarmed guards - one of whom added insult to injury by rapping him over the head with his own imitation gun.

A chilling echo of Milltown

By Deborah McAleese

Michael Stone's fanatical plan to wipe out the republican leadership at Stormont last week carried a chilling echo of his meticulous planning of his Milltown massacre in 1988.

In his biography, None Shall Divide Us, Stone wrote about his first attempt to wipe out the "Republican hierarchy" and about " masterminding a strike so horrific the Republican movement would never recover".

He said: "I had three men in my sights and I knew that this time tomorrow Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness and Danny Morrison would be dead" .

Stone's letter to the Belfast Telegraph is a sinister reminder of that murderous day.

In the letter he states: "I set out to assassinate the Irish Republican war criminals Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness."

Like the attack on Milltown Stone claimed last week he was prepared to be killed in his attempts to murder Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness.

In his book he states: "There was a chance I would die during the plot" and in his letter published today he says that he may die during the attack as "I don't intend withdrawing from my mission as I did on the 16th of March 1988."

Stone's plan to kill Adams and McGuinness at Milltown began to form in his head after the IRA planted a bomb at the gate lodge of a cemetery just before the funeral of an off-duty RUC man who had been shot dead.

That resolve strengthened following the Poppy Day Massacre in Enniskillen.

During a recent TV interview Stone claimed that his one regret was that he had not succeeded in his attempt to murder the Sinn Fein leadership.

In his book he states: "I saw Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams arrive... I was faced with a dilemma. I had the perfect opportunity to assassinate both men as they stood at the coffins, but I had no getaway car.... McGuinness and Adams disappeared into the church and I followed them, I mentally searched for a place to open fire. I could clearly see the back of McGuinness's and Adam's heads. I wanted to pull a grenade out and blast the two of them to smithereens. But the families were beginning to arrive."

Just like his murderous attack on Milltown Stone's murder bid at Stormont was caught on camera by the media.

Stone craves publicity and he was prepared to carry out his latest attack in the full glare of the media at Stormont. However, in his book he claimed at Milltown he had hoped to remain incognito.

"The world's Press had gathered to try to capture the atmosphere and emotion of the day. I didn't want to be in those pictures. I needed to stay anonymous."

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