Loyalist killer Michael Stone was forced to stop painting because of arthritis in both hands.
’65-year-old man, who was paroled from Maghaberry Prison last month after serving 26 years of a life sentence, made a small fortune from his art when he was previously released under the Good Friday deal.
Some of the work has sold for over £ 10,000, but the debilitating stiffness of Stone’s fingers means he’ll never pick up a brush again.
A friend of the Milltown massacre gunman said: “That’s right, Michael Stone will never paint again. He has rheumatism in both hands, which means he’s having trouble lifting a brush.
“Having said that, there is still a great demand for his art and he has a lot of pieces in stock.”
Stone’s paintings and his participation in art exhibitions angered relatives of his victims. The former UDA man was implicated in six sectarian murders in the 1980s when he was one of Northern Ireland’s most notorious assassins.
The organizers of a 2018 exhibition in east Belfast, in which Stone’s work was prominently displayed, later apologized to those families.
Robin Stewart, of the Reach Project, said: “We regret the harm and pain caused. Michael also recognizes the harm his past actions have caused and he understands how this can impact the families of the victims.”
Mr. Stewart also admitted that Stone’s notoriety led to a renewed interest in his work. He added: “We sold a number of paintings at the launch and received more emails today from people locally and across the UK looking to come and view the works with an interest in buying. Some of them may be people who are genuinely interested in art or because of who the artist is. “
Stone, who suffers from heart disease and the rare debilitating Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2F, which affects his mobility, says he began painting to avoid boredom during his isolation in prison in Maze.
In a previous interview, he revealed: “Finally, I came out of isolation and had access to a lot more materials, including watercolors and oil paintings.
“Prisoners were allowed to paint their cells any color, but mine was like a rainbow because I always wiped my brushes on the wall. I guess the colors were a reaction against it. dull environment, and I also included metallic touches, an echo of the prison bars. “
Stone was first pictured in years last week strolling by the seaside with his wife Karan, also an avid artist, in Millisle, County Down, while wearing a rain jacket. bullets and a surveillance tag.
His early release conditions prohibit him from giving media interviews, and he is subject to strict surveillance conditions similar to those imposed on Isis terrorists in England.
Stone was arrested in 1988 after attacking the funerals of three IRA members at Milltown Cemetery and killing three mourners. He admitted a total of six murders and was jailed for at least 30 years. The ailing loyalist was released under the Good Friday deal in 2000, but returned to prison in 2006 for attempting to assassinate Sinn Fein leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness in Stormont.
He was released again last month after the High Court said keeping him behind bars until 2024 would violate his human rights.