01 July 2005

Belfast shooting victim 'linked to loyalists'


01/07/2005 - 15:00:34

The name of the man shot dead in east Belfast this morning recently appeared in loyalist graffiti on the Shankill Road.

The man - named locally as Jameson Lockhart, from Woodburn in north Belfast - was shot at the site of a former pub once owned by a loyalist paramilitary leader in east Belfast.

Mr Lockhart's business has been attacked a number of times in the past.

He was working in a lorry on the site of the old Avenue One bar on the Newtownards Road when he was sprayed with gunfire at around 10am.

Avenue One, which is being demolished, was once owned by Jim Gray, an ousted "brigadier" in the Ulster Defence Association who is currently in prison awaiting trial on money-laundering charges.

The motive for today’s attack is unclear, but one theory is that it may be part of a feud among loyalist drug dealers.

Loyalist sources said the Ulster Volunteer Force was behind the shooting and Mr Lockhart was believed to have links to the rival Loyalist Volunteer Force.

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