Sunday Life has secured the rights to serialise notorious cemetery killer Michael Stone’s story against fierce opposition from other national papers.
The Belfast Sunday newspaper has promised None Shall Divide Us will deliver revelations of Stone’s time with the Ulster Defence Association, including his attack at Milltown cemetery during a Republican funeral, his aborted attempt to assassinate Sinn Fein leader Martin McGuinness and his relationship with his bitter enemy Johnny “Mad Dog” Adair.
Stone claims RUC officers colluded with him in the cemetery attack, where three people were killed, and that his pistol and ammunition were RUC issue.
But the paper’s coup has already provoked a backlash from nationalist MPs, who intend to raise questions in the House of Commons. The Irish News reported that the SDLP’s Alasdair McDonnell has called for tightening of laws to ensure paramilitary killers – Stone was convicted of six murders – cannot profit from selling their stories.
McDonnell said he was concerned at attempts to “glamorise murderers”.
The Life got the book after it exclusively revealed earlier this year that Stone claimed Shankill loyalist Adair had enjoyed gay sex romps. It also broke the story that Stone had fled the province after being threatened by a loyalist terror gang but later returned.
Editor Martin Lindsay said: “Michael Stone’s story is an extraordinary one. This is coming from the man himself, a figure central to loyalist paramilitarism during some of the darkest days of the Troubles.
“Sunday Life’s serialisation of Stone’s book is a good, old-fashioned journalistic coup.” He maintained that the paper was dealing throughout not with Stone but with John Blake Publishing and “Blake knows the rules on payment to criminals”. Blake said: “The paper has given no money whatsoever to Michael Stone.”
Stone’s book is believed to have been ghost-written by journalist Karen McManus.
By Jean Morgan