ON THIS DAY: 23 FEBRUARY 1976: Murder of Francis Rice by Shankill Butchers

Following on from our post a few days back which discussed the vicious Shankill butchers (a loyalist gang connected with the UVF); a Catholic civilian Francis Rice, (24), was abducted, beaten, tortured and had his throat cut almost through to the spine. His torture and death was described as grotesque and obscene. His body was found near Mayo Street, Shankill, Belfast.

When the Butchers were finally┬ábrought to court, the presiding Judge deemed the whole affair to be the biggest murder trial in UK legal history, sentencing all the Butchers except the leader, Lenny Murphy, to a record 2000 plus years behind bars. Murphy was described as the ‘Master Butcher’, and a ‘psychopath’ who terrorized Catholics in the North.

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