Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

£10,000 UDA blackmail plot man has jail term cut

A money collector jailed over a £10,000 UDA blackmail plot is to have his sentence cut, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

Judges reduced the seven-year term imposed on Andrew McBride (32), formerly of Upper Movilla Street, Newtownards, by 12 months, because of a lesser sentence handed down to another member of the gang.

But two others convicted of the same extortion racket – Richard Barry (41), from Cairndore Way, Newtownards, and Glen Benson (43), from Barnagh Park, Donaghadee – failed to have their jail sentences of nine and eight years respectively reduced.

All three men were imprisoned last year for their part in trying to extort money from a businessman by claiming loyalist terror links. Their trial heard how the victim, known as Witness A, was approached in 2009 after he had earlier provided small amounts of cannabis. He was told he would have to pay the UDA a £10,000 fine for his role in growing the drugs.

Threats had been made that his house would be burnt if he did not pay up, according to prosecutors during the court case.

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