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LVF KILLER FULTON SENTENCED TO LIFE; Loyalist caught after undercover cops hear he helped in murder.

Byline: By PAUL HIGGINS

LVF terrorist Jim Fulton was jailed for life yesterday after admitting to undercover police he was involved in the murder of grandmother Elizabeth O'Neill.

The 38-year-old, the brother of dead gangster Mark "Swinger" Fulton, could face two further life sentences on charges of conspiring to murder Sinn Fein workers and a man called Derek Wray.

Instead of reading his 226-page judgment in full, Judge Mr Justice Hart went through the indictment telling Fulton he was guilty of 48 charges but acquitted of 14 others.

In total Fulton, from Queen's Walk in Portadown, Co Armagh, was convicted of aiding and abetting the murder of Mrs O'Neill, two counts of conspiring to murder and seven of attempted murder.

Fulton's other charges included:

NINE explosive charges and 12 woundings and attempted woundings

SEVEN firearm offences, including possessing the gun which hitman Clifford McKeown used to murder Catholic taxi driver Michael McGoldrick, and

ONE attempted robbery, one of perverting the course of justice, two false imprisonments, two hijackings, two drug dealing offences, being a member of the LVF and directing the activities of it.

Among the judge's acquittals at Belfast Crown Court were one charge of attempted murder, two attempted woundings, two explosive charges, one firearm offence, two drug dealing offences, three robberies, two false imprisonments and an attempted robbery.

In relation to his co-accused, 56-year-old Muriel Gibson, Mr Justice Hart acquitted her of involvement in the murder of Catholic council worker Adrian Lamph but convicted her of impeding the arrest and prosecution of his killers.

Gibson, from Clos Trevithick in Cornwall, was also convicted of withholding information about a shooting and of being a member of the LVF.

The convictions came after both Fulton and Gibson confessed to undercover surveillance officers.

They had talked about their activities and involvement with the LVF over the course of eight years between December 1991 and September 1999.

Mrs O'Neill died in an explosion at her home in the loyalist Corcrain estate in Portadown.

She picked up a bomb which had been thrown at her house while she was watching TV in 1999.

The murder of taxi driver Mr McGoldrick, 31, took place outside Lurgan, Co Armagh, at the height of the Drumcree protest in 1996.

His killing is though to be the first carried out by the LVF which was formed by UVF renegade Billy "King Rat" Wright

Wright was later assasinated by the INLA inside the Maze in 1997 while Fulton's brother Mark was found dead inside his cell in 2002.

Jim Fulton's trial, the longest in Northern Ireland's legal history, had run from September last year until this June.

After delivering his verdicts, Mr Justice Hart told Fulton that as he had been convicted of murder, "the only sentence I am empowered to impose is life imprisonment, you will be sentenced, therefore, to life imprisonment".

As he did so a supporter of Fulton, who had sat through every day of the lengthy trial, stormed from the court shouting "farce, scam, you're a disgrace to law and order".

Gibson was also remanded into custody after an application for bail was refused.

Both will be sentenced in January.

ulster@mirror.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

JAILED Jim Fulton, from Portadown, Co Armagh, was found guilty of 48 charges and acquitted of 14 others. He was given a life sentence after he admitted his crimes to undercover police' VICTIM Elizabeth O'Neill was killed in her home by a pipe bomb attack. She had been watching TV when the device landed in her living room, she tried to pick it up but it went off' CASE: Mr McGoldrick and Gibson
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 8, 2006
Words:605
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