Victims' relatives vent anger over police informer 'who was allowed to kill at will'
Relatives of Gary Haggarty's five murder victims and others he attempted to kill watched from a packed public gallery behind a bulletproof partition as he pleaded guilty.
Afterwards, they stood outside with solicitor Padraig O'Muirigh, visibly shaken and emotional at what they had seen.
Ciaran Fox was just 18 when his father Eamon was gunned down in broad daylight with workmate Gary Convie on a building site at North Queen Street in Belfast in May 1994.
Mr Fox said he was angry that Haggarty's crimes were committed while he was a police informer.
"The police knew what was going to happen and took no action to stop it," he said, adding that he believed police collusion went to the top of the organisation.
"Basically, he was just a hitman - he killed at will. Police knew my father and Gary Convie were both going to be murdered and they sat back and let it happen. That's hard to swallow."
Detective Superintendent Richard Campbell from the PSNI's Serious Crime Branch said in a statement that yesterday's court proceedings were a milestone for the victims, their families and also for the police investigation.
"The PSNI remains committed to moving forward and working with the PPS in relation to the next stages of the investigation into Mount Vernon UVF and others who were involved with committing these offences," he said.
"My detectives have worked hard over the last seven years to bring justice.
"I understand the frustrations of the families over the length of time this has taken but I have always said that it was important to take the time to get it right."