Sunday Life

KO for Shoukri charity fight
Opponent pulls out after UDA attacks on Shankill minister

Exclusive by Ciaran McGuigan
13 February 2005

THE charity boxing match between a UDA 'brigadier' and a born-again pastor has been delivered a fatal blow, following terror attacks on another minister.

Hardman preacher, Michael Cousins, was set to step into the ring with UDA boss, Andre Shoukri, to raise money for sick children.

But the Elim church pastor has pulled out of the fight, after the sick attacks on a Protestant minister, offering help to the family of a UDA feud victim.

Ruth Petticrew, who runs a ministry on the Shankill Road, was subjected to a campaign of terror, after she offered pastoral care to the family of slain Alan McCullough.

It culminated with a petrol-bomb attack on her car, last month.

The UDA was behind the murder of former Johnny Adair ally McCullough, and it is believed that the attack on Ms Petticrew's car, and threats on her life, came from elements within the UDA.

And it is understood the attack was the final straw for church elders, who were already under pressure from their congregation over the controversial bout.

The Children's Hospice - which was originally to benefit from the fight - had also distanced itself from the bout.

One church source told Sunday Life: "The church simply couldn't have any more to do with this fight, because of the UDA connection.

"They weren't going to stand back, and let the UDA attack one minister and, at the same time, get involved in charity events with the very same people.

"So, the whole thing has been pulled.

"It started off with good intentions, but attracted too much bad publicity, and involved too many bad people."

The fight was due to take place at the end of February, in Ballysillan Leisure Centre, and £25-a-head tickets were being snapped up.

The organisers had even secured public liability insurance, to allow the boxing to go ahead.

But a Belfast City Council spokesman last week confirmed that the booking had been cancelled.

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