Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

UVF leadership ‘knew of plan to murder Bobby Moffett’

Bobby Moffett (44) was murdered on the Shankill Road in an area crowded with shoppers

UVF leaders could have stopped the killing of loyalist ex-prisoner Bobby Moffett on the Shankill Road — but didn’t.

This is expected to be among the findings in a special report by the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC), due for publication in 12 days’ time.

If the finding is confirmed, it stops just short of saying the paramilitary leadership sanctioned the shooting, but suggests it had enough knowledge to intervene and chose not to.

Asked could the UVF avoid blame, a source responded: “Absolutely not. They can’t wriggle.”

His assessment is that UVF leaders “could have stopped it, but didn’t”.

As it continues its assessment of the Moffett murder, the IMC is meeting in Belfast today and will stay until the middle of next week.

A report will be presented to the British and Irish governments this day week with publication expected on September 15.

UVF gunmen shot Moffett, a former Red Hand Commando prisoner, in May — a public execution carried out during a busy Friday lunchtime on the Shankill Road.

He was killed because of a personal feud with senior UVF figures, his murder coming months after the loyalist organisation claimed to have decommissioned all weapons under its control.

The UVF’s most senior leaders live on the Shankill Road, and there are questions about how much they knew before the killing and how much they know now.

There are also questions about the weapons used, who supplied them and where are they now?

In the political fallout that followed the shooting, Stormont MLA Dawn Purvis resigned her leadership and membership of the Progressive Unionist Party — the small loyalist party with political links to both the UVF and Red Hand Commando.

Independent Policing Board member David Rose followed, and now the party’s Press and communications officer has also resigned.

The PUP annual conference is due in October and more resignations are expected then.

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