Relative cleared to bring judicial review as Michael Stone eligible for release

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The sister of one of loyalist killer Michael Stone’s victims has been granted leave to challenge his eligibility to seek parole.

Stone was handed a 30-year sentence in 1988 after being convicted of six murders.

These included an infamous attack on the funeral of three Provisional IRA members who had been killed by the SAS in Gibraltar.

Three men – Thomas McErlean, 20, John Murray, 26, and Kevin Brady, 30 – died as Stone attacked mourners at Milltown Cemetery in Belfast.

Crime – Loyalist Bomb Attack – Milltown Cemetery
An injured man is aided by mourners, including Sinn Fein vice president Martin McGuinness, left, at Milltown Cemetary (PA)

But Stone was returned to prison in 2007 after attempting to attack Parliament Buildings at Stormont armed with an imitation gun and explosive devices.

The Belfast man, who has a strong interest in art, later claimed the incident had been performance art.

Michael Stone
Michael Stone is restrained be security staff at Parliament Buildings (PA)

His 30-year sentence was due to have completed in July.

Counsel for the Department of Justice told the hearing that after that date, Stone became eligible to apply for release.

Counsel for Stone agreed with the calculation that his client’s sentence is completed. He told the court Stone is in the second stage of applying for release and due to face an oral hearing.

Deborah McGuinness, sister of Mr McErlean, applied to bring a judicial review of the Department of Justice calculations of his time served in prison.

She was at Belfast High Court on Wednesday with several family members, including Mr McErlean’s wife.

Her application was granted by Mr Justice McCloskey following a brief hearing.

“The court being satisfied that an arguable case with a reasonable prospect of success has been established, leave to apply for judicial review is hereby granted,” he said.

The case is next set to be mentioned early next year.

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