UDA man must serve at least 17yrs

FRIDAY 18/02/2005 16:19:02

A 36-year-old UDA man jailed for life for the
"cold-blooded killing" of party-goer Richard Hamill
two years ago was told today he must serve at least 17
years before he is eligible for release.

Belfast Crown Court had heard that UDA man William
"Billy the boxer" Moore, "executed" 28-year-old Mr
Hamill, and that the "cold-blooded killing was carried
out without provocation and carried out in a ruthless

Mr Justice Hart told Moore that for "such a grave
crime", in which he shot a kneeling Mr Hamill, while
"at his mercy", the minimum sentence he must serve was
17 years "to satisfy the requirements of retribution
and deterrence".

The former unemployed boxer from Rathgill Drive in
Bangor, got the loaded pistol from his North Down
faction of the UDA, after a police warning his life
was in danger from a rival UDA faction.

Moore admitted murdering Mr Hamill in the bathroom of
a house in St Gallen Court, Bangor in the early hours
of January 19, 2003, where they had both been
attending a party.

Mr Justice Hart said moments before the shooting,
Moore, had asked others, "will you shot him or will
I", although it was unclear if this "was said in jest
or whether there was a much more sinister connotation"
to his words.

"Whatever may have been the defendant`s motivation for
behaving in this way, the inescapable reality is that
he had Hamill kneeling before him at his mercy when he
fired the shot from the a gun which he deliberately
cocked and, knowing it was loaded, placed it close to
Hamill`s left temple," added the judge.

Moore had followed Mr Hamill to the bathroom, but
later claimed he only meant to "scare" him when he put
the pistol to his head after "he got a bit lippy", and
that he shot him by accident after "he just came at

Afterward`s he told other party-goers, "I`ve shot him,
I didn`t mean to do it, I`m sorry".

However Mr Justice Hart said he was entirely satisfied
Moore`s claims were "without foundation", given
forensic and post mortem reports indicating Mr Hamill
was kneeling when shot "from a close range of less
than about five centimeters, two inches".

"It is clear that Moore cocked the gun and then placed
it very close to Hamill`s forehead at a time when
Hamill was kneeling in front of him, and then fired
the shot which killed Hamill.

"In such circumstances Hamill can justly be described
as being in a very vulnerable and defenceless
position," added Mr Justice Hart.

The judge said while it was accepted "the shooting was
not a direct result of a paramilitary campaign, it
cannot be stated too frequently that the courts will
take a very severe view of those who equip themselves
with illegally held firearms for whatever purpose and
then use them".

Moore was given a concurrent 12 year jail term for
posessing the murder gun and a concurrent five year
term for membership of the UDA.

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