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I turned tout so I can look myself in mirror: Robert Stewart

Loyalist supergrass Robert Stewart has claimed that the reason he and his brother Ian have implicated 14 men in a catalogue of UVF crimes is so he can look himself in the mirror.

The 37-year-old self-confessed terrorist also rejected defence suggestions he is a liar who weaved a tangled web and concocted a fantasy list of names to get himself a deal from the authorities.

Stewart is giving evidence at one of the largest Belfast Crown Court trials in decades, where the accused men between them deny a total of 37 charges. Nine are accused of the October 2000 murder of UDA boss Tommy English.

Questioned by defence QC David Hopley, for accused Samuel Higgins, Stewart said: “The only motivation here is that, for whatever years I have left, I can look myself in the mirror.”

Earlier he rejected suggestions he'd “downplayed” his role in many of his crimes, claiming that in the admissions he made to police there was “enough there to put me away for... five life times”.

While he accepted there was maybe “a lie or two” in his police statements, he claimed his evidence was strong.

Throughout his cross-examination Stewart also kept repeating, what defence lawyers have referred to as his “mantra”, that he would not implicate anyone unless “they were there”, claiming he had given “umpteen” explanations for errors in his evidence.

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“I have explained this umpteen times,” complained Stewart, who added, “to umpteen barristers”.

At one stage Stewart said that while making some of his police statement he was under stress, agitated, nervous, and possibly suffering from cabin fever, which added to his confusion, but that “as soon as the fog cleared” he remembered who did what.

He added later that the roles he attributed to people when he spoke to police back then, may have been “cloudy” but that “it isn't cloudy now”.

Stewart accused Mr Hopley, and defence lawyer Denis Boyd, of “talking nonsense... absolute rubbish ... absolute nonsense”.

He told Mr Boyd that the reason he had not initially named his client David Samuel McCrum was because “he was not a member of any organisation, he was a good kid, and I didn't want to put him into any of it”.

However, as the lawyer pressed him on his evidence, suggesting he had named McCrum to secure a deal with police, Stewart said: “I wish now I had put him in from the start.”

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