YESTERDAY saw the funeral of Gerry McLaverty, the only survivor of the bloodthirsty gang of loyalist serial killers and sectarian psychopaths known as the Shankill Butchers. McLaverty’s courage – in identifying members of the UVF gang who slashed his wrists (pictured), stabbed him, hacked him with an axe, tied a noose round his neck and left him for dead – undoubtedly meant that lives were saved. Members of the gang were eventually convicted of 19 murders, although suspected of up to 11 more, and McLaverty, described as a gentle giant, eventually recovered, although he rarely spoke of his harrowing experience. You can read McLaverty’s statement to the police in this extract from Martin Dillon’s book on the Shankill Butchers (page 196). I think we’ve good reason to be thankful for Gerard McLaverty; perhaps his bravery deserves to be remembered in some way other than newspaper tributes?