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Accused’s house was UVF shrine, court told

The home of an alleged former top paramilitary was a shrine to the Ulster Volunteer Force, the High Court has heard.

Prosecutors also disclosed claims that Robert Warnock was a ‘brigadier’ in the terror group who headed a meeting where a pipe-bombing was planned.

Warnock (62) is accused in connection with the alleged attempt to stop a doorman from testifying about a brutal assault he was subjected to.

He was granted bail after a former chairman of the Loyalist Commission, the Rev Mervyn Gibson, gave evidence to back defence claims that he has played a key role in shifting paramilitaries away from violence.

Warnock, of Ballyalton Park, Monkstown, Newtownabbey, denies charges of conspiracy to intimidate a witness and membership of the outlawed UVF.

The case against him relates to a pipe-bombing in September 2003 at the home in Larne, Co Antrim, of the then girlfriend of Trevor Gowdy. Mr Gowdy was due to testify about an attack on him outside a Newtownabbey social club the previous year.

Former senior loyalist and alleged police agent Mark Haddock was later sentenced to 10 years in prison for the assault.

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The judge ruled that Warnock could be released on bail due to his position as the main carer for his seriously ill wife.

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