Charity declines money raised at Michael Stone art exhibition
A charity has declined the money raised during an art exhibition for the loyalist killer Michael Stone.
Stone, while on day release from prison, attended an art exhibition in east Belfast last month which featured his own work and that of his wife Karen who he married in prison two years ago.
The exhibition features more than 20 paintings mostly focused on loyalist themes. The Milestones exhibition was hosted inside east Belfast community project Reach UK, which was set up by former members of the Red Hand Commando paramilitary group.
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Organisers said 33% of the proceeds raised from the event would go to the Muscular Dystrophy UK charity, with the rest going to Stone and his family.
However, when the charity learned of how the money was raised it decided to decline the funds.
In a statement, a spokeswoman said: "We were not aware that Mr Stone had work on show at the Milestones exhibition. We understand the sensitivities in Northern Ireland about an exhibition including his paintings.
"After careful consideration, we will be declining the money raised at the event.”
Former UDA man Michael Stone came to notoriety for his bloody gun and bomb attack on the Milltown Cemetery in March 1988, when he attacked the funerals of three IRA members, shooting and lobbing grenades into the crowd.
Three people died during the attack, with Stone admitting to three other murders after being arrested.
He was released in 2000 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, but was imprisoned again in 2006 after attempting to kill Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness at Stormont, and is currently serving the remainder of the minimum 20-year jail term he was given in 1988.
As he is coming to his release date, he is eligible for 24 hours of unsupervised day release every four weeks in advance of this.
Belfast Telegraph Digital