Judge Doyle's daughter described him as a "Republican who had grown up on the Falls Road". Despite this, he was reportedly targeted because the IRA saw him as 'working for the enemy'. Although he received a police escort when travelling between his home and the courthouse, he declined the service at all other times, even after being told he was a potential target. Prior to his appointment as a judge in 1978, he was a high profile QC and despite his Republican upbringing he represented defendants from both sides. In 1966 he defended the infamous UVF leader Gusty Spence over the murder of a Catholic civilian.
|William Doyle QC and, right, his funeral|
The following year the IRA attempted to murder a Catholic magistrate outside the same church in Malone, again following midday mass. The magistrate survived the attack, but his 22-year-old daughter was killed.