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List of suspects a long one for murder victim targeted two years ago

By Staff Reporter

Published 08/08/2016

John Borland (right) with Andre Shoukri
John Borland (right) with Andre Shoukri

The PSNI's list of suspects for the murder of former UDA prisoner John 'Bonzer' Borland could be a long one.

Borland, whose first criminal conviction dates back to 1987, was targeted almost exactly two years ago, when he and his close friend - deposed UDA commander Andre Shoukri - claimed they came under gun attack as they drove through Carr's Glen Park in the Ballysillan area.

Last year, all charges were dropped against the three loyalists who were jointly accused of trying to kill the two men.

Prosecutors said last September that the charges had been withdrawn due to insufficient evidence.

All three men had denied involvement in any shooting, insisting the allegations were made up.

However, a source last night said people at the murder scene had linked the killing to recent events in Carrickfergus, where tensions between rival UDA factions erupted into violence last month.

The trouble centred around the Glenfield estate when a UDA gang sent from Rathcoole in Newtownabbey attempted to force a leading loyalist from his home.

But they ended up fleeing, when he gathered together his own bigger mob, some of whom were wielding axes and hammers.

In 2006, Shoukri was charged with blackmail and intimidation. He was later jailed for nine years alongside Borland.

Boreland and Shoukri, often at the centre of UDA power struggles, were freed early in 2009 having served just half their sentences. Boreland also had a more recent conviction for possessing a class B drug.

More recently, there have been major loyalist tensions in another area of north Belfast. Up to 50 men marched along the Shore Road and into Shore Crescent in a UVF show of strength.

It is believed to relate to a feud after a UDA man in north Belfast was beaten with iron bars by a UVF gang.

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