Abuse of former RUC band piper after McElkerney funeral

The funeral of republican Martin McElkerney last week
The funeral of republican Martin McElkerney last week
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A former RUC pipe band member who led the funeral of INLA member Martin McElkerney last Thursday has sought security advice after suffering online abuse.

Lee Lawson was hired to perform at the funeral of the 57-year-old former terrorist, who died after a shooting incident at Belfast’s Milltown cemetery on May 16.

She said she had no idea that it would be a paramilitary funeral, and that she was too afraid to refuse to take part.

The professional musician told the Sunday Life that the experience was “intimidating”.

Ms Lawson also said she had decided to contact police due to the level of online abuse she received.

“They [police] told me that if I had refused to play I would have put myself in danger,” she said.

Ms Lawson said she was asked to lead the funeral procession.

“I turned around and saw these guys with masks. I got the shock of my life,” she added.

A police spokeswoman said: “PSNI does not discuss the security of individuals and no inference should be drawn from this. However, if we receive information that an individual may need to review their security, we will inform them accordingly.

“We never ignore anything which may put an individual at risk.”