Ex-paramilitary found dead


A leading Portadown loyalist who had clashed with the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) has died in an explosion near Newry, Co Down. His death appears to have been accidental. Mr Robert J. Kerr, a former loyalist paramilitary from Glandore Terrace, Portadown, was found dead near a blazing boat parked on the main Newry-Warrenpoint Road early on Saturday morning.

His body was discovered after police and fire crews went to the boat fire. A post mortem on Saturday indicated that Mr Kerr had died in a "vapour explosion".

It is understood that Mr Kerr may have been trying to set fire to the boat by pouring petrol around inside when he accidentally set fire to the fumes. Earlier, he had parked the boat near a halting site outside Newry. Officially, the police are keeping an open mind, although they suspect that a gas leak of some kind may have caused the explosion. There was a large amount of debris surrounding the boat.

Earlier this year, Mr Kerr's home was fire-bombed by the LVF, after he accused the organisation of engaging in extortion and intimidation.