MLA call to tighten law on swords after Belvoir double killing

Jimmy Spratt said he would back a total ban on swords, with a few exemptions
Jimmy Spratt said he would back a total ban on swords, with a few exemptions

A former policeman-turned-MLA said he would back a tightening of the law surrounding swords following last week’s double killing in Belfast.

DUP MLA Jimmy Spratt made the call after a samurai-style sword was named by police as the likely weapon used in the fatal attack on the loyalist Belvoir housing estate, in the south of the city, on Wednesday night.

A segment on the government-run NI Direct website states: “There is a complete ban on the sale of certain types of knives categorised as offensive weapons, regardless of their use.”

It lists samurai swords under the category of offensive weapons which are subject to a total sales ban.

The PSNI, when asked about their legal status, told the News Letter “it is not illegal to own a sword”.

Asked if the rules around such items should be looked at in light of the incident, Mr Spratt – who is an ex-member of the RUC and PSNI, as well as a former chairman of the Police Federation – said: “Certainly it’s something I’d imagine could be raised ... I certainly would be keen to see restrictions on any type of offensive weapon.”

South Belfast MLA Mr Spratt said it was “unthinkable” to have swords of the kind suspected of being involved in the Belvoir killings in the general community.

He said he would back legislation calling for a total ban on possessing swords, with exemptions for things like antiques or Orange ceremonial ones.

The incident on Wednesday night led to the death of UDA man Colin Lindsay, with Stanley Wightman dying later in hospital.

When asked about who owned the sword during a press conference last Thursday, police said they believed it had already been present in Mr Lindsay’s home.