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IMC plans special report on killing of Shankill loyalist Bobby Moffett

By David Gordon

Northern Ireland's ceasefire monitoring body is to produce a special report on the loyalist murder of Bobby Moffett on Belfast’s Shankill Road.

The Government-appointed Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) will reveal its conclusions by the autumn.

Police blamed UVF members for the gun attack in May.

There was widespread speculation that the murder was sanctioned by UVF chiefs.

It also raised doubts over the paramilitary organisation's claim to have decommissioned all its weapons.

The leader of the UVF-linked PUP, East Belfast MLA Dawn Purvis, quit the party in the wake of the Moffett killing.

The IMC announced its plans for an “ad hoc” report on the case in a Press release issued yesterday.

It said: “We will continue our investigation and we will deliver the report in advance of our next full report on paramilitary activity, due in late October.

“The British and Irish Governments have been informed.”

Welcoming the move, SDLP justice spokesman Alban Maginness said: “Up until now there has been only speculation and strong suspicion, but we can now expect a detailed and comprehensive report. That's to be welcomed.”

Mr Moffett was shot dead on a busy Shankill Road on May 28, with women and children among the traumatised witnesses.

The 43-year-old father-of-six was shot three times at close range by two masked gunmen at lunchtime.

He had been a member of the UVF-linked Red Hand Commando and is thought to have been in a dispute with UVF figures.

Previous IMC reports have been followed by financial sanctions on both the PUP and Sinn Fein by the Northern Ireland Office.

These involved action on remuneration paid to the parties' political representatives.

However, the Dawn Purvis resignation has left the PUP without any Assembly seats.

Mr Moffett's funeral was attended by an estimated 2,000 mourners, defying an attempt by UVF elements to intimidate people into staying away.

A vigil was also held on the Shankill in protest at the killing.

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