Belfast Telegraph

INLA child killer McElkerney 'critically ill' after Belfast cemetery shooting

Police at Milltown Cemetery
Police at Milltown Cemetery
The air ambulance at Milltown Cemetery
Martin McElkerney
Victims Stephen Bennet and Kevin Valliday

A triple killer is fighting for his life in hospital after being discovered with gunshot wounds at the republican plot in Milltown Cemetery on Thursday afternoon.

He has been named locally as former INLA prisoner Martin McElkerney.

The Air Ambulance was scrambled to the scene of the shooting just yards from the busy Kennedy Centre. On Thursday night the site where the shooting happened at the west Belfast cemetery was guarded by PSNI vehicles.

Investigating officers wearing protective masks carried out a fingertip search among the headstones - with one officer seen carrying a mobile phone which had been placed into a protective plastic envelope.

A Northern Ireland Ambulance Service spokesman told the Belfast Telegraph: "We received a call at 1.53pm and attended the scene following a report of an incident at Milltown Cemetery.

"We dispatched two emergency crews to the scene. The Charity Air Ambulance and HEMS team also attended.

"One person was transported to Royal Victoria Hospital."

West Belfast man Martin McElkerney was jailed in 1987 for his role in a 1982 booby-trap explosion which killed two local schoolboys and a soldier.

McElkerney was identified in court as the look-out for the INLA bomber who planted the device at Divis Flats in 1982.

Schoolboy Kevin Valliday (11), his friend Stephen Bennet (14) and 20-year-old Lance Bombardier Kevin Waller all died as a result of the blast.

Martin McElkerney
Martin McElkerney

Lance Bombardier Waller, who served with the Royal Artillery Regiment, died of his injuries four days after the booby-trap explosion, just hours after the funeral of Kevin Valliday, who had died from his wounds the day after the blast.

Another soldier received life-changing injuries as a result of the Divis Flats bomb.

The inquest was told that the device had been detonated by someone who could not see the walkway where the soldiers were patrolling.

Lost Lives, which catalogued the thousands of deaths during the Troubles, said the Divis bombing sparked an outpouring of anger in west Belfast.

More than 200 people marched in protest to the Irish Republican Socialist Party headquarters on the Falls Road "where they left a note on the door accusing the INLA and IRSP of having 'the blood of our children on your hands'," the book records.

In 1987, Mr McElkerney was given three life sentences for his role in the bombing.

He was released in 1999 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr McElkerney was also among four former INLA prisoners pictured at a press conference in February 2010 announcing that the left-wing paramilitary group had disposed of its weapons.

It's believed that the INLA was responsible for more than 120 deaths during the Troubles.

Lost Lives records that 44 of its members were themselves killed during the conflict.

In a statement issued yesterday, the PSNI said: "Police are currently in attendance at an incident at the Milltown Cemetery in west Belfast this afternoon.

"There are no further details at this stage."

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