23 September 2004 Edition

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Life for sectarian killing of Protestant

Former Orange Order District Master Harry Speers gave friends and relatives a 'thumbs up' sign after he was sentenced to life for the murder of 49-year-old Trevor Lowry in a sectarian attack in Glengormley, North Belfast in March 2001.

Sentencing 45-year-old Speers, from Cairntall Road, Newtownabbey, at Belfast Court on Friday 17 September, Judge Girvan told him he will serve at least 15 years. Speer's co-accused, 20-year-old Ron Craig from Richmond Drive, Glengormley, who was a schoolboy when Lowry was killed, was told he will have to serve at least eleven years after being detained at the pleasure of the Secretary of State.

Girvan said that during the unprovoked attack, in which Lowry had little or no chance of defending himself, it appeared his attackers "didn't care whether he lived or died".

Trevor Lowry, a Protestant, died on 31 March 2001, two days after being attacked by the pair in the mistaken belief he was a Catholic. The loyalists were part of a gang roaming the area in a white Ford Escort and had already attempted to abduct another man from the nearby St Enda's GAA club.

Speers had been head of the Ulster Young Militants, the youth wing of the UDA, in the Glengormley area at the time of the killing. His role was to groom teenagers into the mainstream UDA.

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