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The Troubles I've Seen: Editor Curran tells of grilling killer Michael Stone

By Lesley Houston

Published 08/10/2015

Loyalist killer Michael Stone has been told his earliest possible release from jail will be in 2018, taking account of time already served
Loyalist killer Michael Stone has been told his earliest possible release from jail will be in 2018, taking account of time already served
Newspaper veteran: Ed Curran
Michael Stone attacks a funeral in Milltown Cemetery

When former Belfast Telegraph boss Ed Curran was given a chance to ask Michael Stone why he attacked mourners at an IRA funeral in 1988, he nearly declined.

But when the veteran newspaper man reconsidered the invitation to grill the killer - who even during his trial gave no explanation for his actions at Milltown Cemetery in west Belfast - he felt compelled as a journalist to try to tease out his motivation.

Mr Curran, who was editor of this newspaper for 12 years, is set to share his experience of his interview with Stone inside the Maze Prison in the newest series of The Troubles I've Seen, starting tonight on UTV.

The new eight-part series features familiar names and faces of Northern Ireland's media, who reveal what it was really like behind the headlines during some of the worst days of the Troubles, from 1988 to the early 1990s.

The first programme encompasses the period surrounding the Gibralter Three, an IRA unit shot dead by the SAS in March 1988.

It was at their funeral 10 days later in Milltown that loyalist Stone killed three people and injured more than 50.

Mr Curran tells the programme his initial reaction was no. "Then I thought yes I would, I am a journalist after all, why wouldn't I want to meet Michael Stone?

"When I checked the files I realised that he had given no explanation whatsoever of what he had done at Milltown Cemetery, he didn't appear in the witness box and he was not cross-examined.

"So I thought at best I would go there and I might be able to find out what motivated him, why did he do it?"

Other contributors to the series include Deric Henderson, Brian Rowan, Eamonn Mallie, John Irvine, Maria McCann and Jim McDowell.

Narrated by veteran broadcaster Denis Tuohy, The Troubles I've Seen airs at 8.30pm on UTV.

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