Belfast Telegraph

NLA killer tells of his regret for man's murder

25 September 2004

An INLA killer who murdered a retired policeman told of his regret days before his own death.

Twenty-nine-year-old Armagh man Neil Sheridan shot former RUC reservist Cyril Stewart six years ago.

But in a letter written from jail, he described his crime as a "squalid, sickening act".

He said it would have "sickened the overwhelming number of Irish people, including genuine republicans".

He wanted to publicly dissuade other people not to repeat his mistakes.

Sheridan apologised to the community as a whole and the people of Armagh in particular.

And he said: "I would also wish my victim's family to know that I will always be ashamed of what I have done."

On Wednesday, days after the letter had been sent to the Irish News, Sheridan died in hospital after being found on the floor of his cell at Maghaberry prison.

Tests are continuing to determine the cause of death, although suicide has been ruled out and a crime is not suspected.

Mr Stewart (52) was shot dead in front of his wife outside a supermarket in Armagh in March 1998.

Sheridan initially denied the murder but was convicted three years ago.

In his letter, the former INLA man said: "The only effect violence has is on the victim, their family and the further embitterment of the other community."

He went on to say the longer you are involved in paramilitarism, the more it takes over your life and the more things become acceptable and possible.

"That is how I found it anyway," he said.

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