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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.

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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