Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 2 August 2014

Loyalist trio guilty of £15,000 blackmail

Three men, including a prominent loyalist and a convicted killer, have pleaded guilty to blackmailing £15,000 from businessmen.

Lawyers for Gary Fulton (40), Phillip Blaney (48) and Mark Briggs asked for charges of blackmail to be put to them again at Belfast Crown Court.

Fulton, from Gillespie Court in Comber, and Portadown men Briggs and Blaney, neighbours on Westland Road, pleaded guilty to two counts of blackmailing £15,000 from two victims in 2011.

A fourth man, Daniel Hamilton (30), from the Old Mill Manor, Laurelvale, pleaded guilty earlier.

Blaney served time for the manslaughter of Elizabeth O'Neill who died in 1999 after picking up a blast bomb. Gary Fulton's brother Jim is serving a life term for her murder.

Judge David McFarland adjourned sentence for reports.

While he released Fulton and Briggs on bail, he warned that this "was no indication as to how the court will deal with them".

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