SECRETARY of State Owen Paterson will ” consider ” whether to revoke the early release licence of a convicted killer remanded in custody over Twelfth violence. Thomas ” Ta ” McWilliams was arrested on Monday by detectives investigating attacks on the PSNI in the Ardoyne area of North Belfast.

The 47-year-old, of Northwick Drive in the city, faces charges of attempting to murder police and possession of an assault rifle wit intent to endanger life. McWilliams previously served seven years in prison for the 1993 murder of father-of-four Norman Truesdale, before being released on licence in 2000 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. Mr Truesdale (39) was shot dead at his shop on the Oldpark Road in North Belfast. The IRA alleged he was a loyalist paramilitary, an allegation denied by his family. A UDA mural in his memory was later painted on a gable wall in Manor Street.

Trouble flared in Ardoyne last Thursday following a contentious Orange Order parade past the interface and counter-march by nationalist residents. Up to 10 shots were fired at police lines from the Brompton Park area shortly before midnight. When McWilliams appeared before Belfast Magistrates Court yesterday a police officer said he could connect him to the alleged offences. During cross-examination by a defence lawyer the officer confirmed the accused was not being linked to the actual firing of shots. It is alleged that McWilliams drove a car with the weapon in it away from the scene, the court heard.

That vehicle was seized by police on Friday. The officer also agreed that there was no forensic evidence linking the accused to the incident. Bail was not applied for and McWilliams was remanded in custody to appear again by video link on August 15th. As he was led from the dock he saluted supporters who cheered and applauded from the public gallery. A white-line picket was later held on the Crumlin Road in North Belfast to protest at McWilliam’s detention. A spokeswomen for Mr Paterson said yesterday that revocations of life sentence licences are considered on a case-by-case basis. ” The secretary of state will need to consider the evidence available to decide if Mr McWilliams’s licence ought to be revoked,” she said.




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