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10 October 2002 Edition

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Loyalist feud claims another life

The spiralling loyalist feud that erupted with last month's killing of LVF drug dealer Stephen Warnock claimed its second life on Friday night 4 October.

Geoffrey Gray (41) was shot dead as he walked along Ravenhill Avenue just before midnight on Friday. Originally from Portadown, Gray was involved with loyalist killer Billy Wright, who formed the LVF after being expelled by the UVF leadership.

Gray is said to have been a member of the UDA but had links with the LVF and may have been shot by the UDA because of his association with Wright.

On Saturday 5 October, a young man was shot and wounded in East Belfast. He was hit in the head after the pillion passenger of a motor bike fired on him with a shotgun. His injuries were not life threatening.

Two further shootings on Monday 8 October saw another man shot in the head and seriously wounded.

Alex McKinley (23) was shot in the head at Euston Street off the Woodstock Road just before 9pm. He was rushed to hospital where he underwent neurosurgery.

This shooting followed an attempt to kill a man on the Beersbridge Road, who escaped injury.

The attacks were thought to be the work of the LVF, who claimed to have tried to kill two other men in two separate and largely unreported attacks.

So far, the loyalist in-fighting has centred on East Belfast. And despite the tensions in the loyalist gangs in North Belfast over the dismissal of Johnny Adair, loyalists there have so far not turned their guns on each other.

However, reports that the LVF has ordered a number of people out of the largely UVF stronghold of Ballysillan in North Belfast may signal the beginning of a shooting war there.

Meanwhile, attempts by the Loyalist Commission to bring the warring factions together have been rejected.

The commission met senior loyalists in East Belfast on Tuesday in an attempt to broker a deal but this was rejected.

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