Belfast Telegraph

Loyalist killing inquest delayed

An inquest into a notorious loyalist killing has been delayed because of hopes that police may yet make progress in the case.

Coroner John Leckey adjourned proceedings into the 1997 death of Raymond McCord Jnr after being told that interviews with a loyalist assisting police with information were coming to an end.

Relatives of the 22-year-old victim have said they do not want an inquest to proceed until the police investigation has been exhausted.

A lawyer for the police said: "This is a very involved and lengthy process. There were various debriefs of the assisting offender."

But the coroner was told the police interviews were "coming towards a conclusion".

Mr Leckey told the preliminary hearing in Belfast that he would adjourn the proceedings until January when an update on progress could be given.

It is understood the assisting offender is providing state's evidence on a range of crimes committed by the notorious UVF gang from north Belfast's Mount Vernon estate that beat Mr McCord to death and dumped his body in a Newtownabbey quarry.

The murdered man's father, Raymond McCord Snr, filed a complaint to the former Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan who in 2007 produced an explosive report uncovering collusion between the same UVF grouping and police in a string of killings.

The police have since taken over the inquiry entitled Operation Stafford.

Nine men, including alleged UVF commander Mark Haddock, have already been cleared of murdering UDA chief Tommy English following a trial which saw evidence provided by two other supergrass witnesses.


From Belfast Telegraph