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Police form a ring of steel at ex-UDA chief Gilmore's funeral

By Victoria Leonard

Police formed a ring of steel around a Carrickfergus estate yesterday afternoon as former UDA commander George ‘Geordie’ Gilmore was laid to rest.

A heavy police presence including Land Rovers, motorcycles, unmarked cars and squad cars encircled the Glenfield area, with a police checkpoint operating along the access routes as mourners arrived to commemorate the murdered loyalist.

The 44-year-old died after being hit in the neck, torso and leg when shots were fired into his car at point blank range on Monday, March 13. He passed away in hospital the next day.

Yesterday, under a grey and sombre sky, a police escort flanked the hearse containing Mr Gilmore’s coffin as it made its way to the Church of the Nazarene on Oakfield Drive.

Floral tributes bearing the words “Dad” and “Granda” were visible as the vehicle remained parked outside the church an hour before the funeral got under way.

The service was conducted only a couple of miles from where Mr Gilmore was shot dead as he returned from the court appearance of brothers Brian and Ian Sinclair.

The brothers had been charged with the attempted murder of doorman Steven Bingham inside the Royal Oak bar in Carrickfergus just two days before Mr Gilmore was shot.

Kilwaughter resident Samuel David McMaw (28) and Brian Roy McLean (35) of The Birches in Carrick have both been charged with Mr Gilmore’s murder, and with the attempted murder of Stephen Boyd and Kelvin Graham.

Both men are also accused of possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Following a court appearance on Saturday, March 18, the pair were remanded in custody.

A 23-year-old man who was arrested in a policing operation in Carrickfergus on Sunday evening has since been released unconditionally.

A 32-year-old woman, who had been detained earlier, was also released without charge.

After the service, Mr Gilmore’s family and friends led a procession of around 100 people as they bore his coffin along Oakfield Drive.

It is understood that he was then cremated at Roselawn Cemetery.

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