Belfast Telegraph

Life imprisonment for former UVF commander Haggarty

Former UVF commander Gary Haggarty has been sentenced to life imprisonment for aiding and abetting in murder.

Catholic volunteer worker Peter McTasney was shot dead by an Ulster Volunteer Force gang at his home in the outskirts of North Belfast in February 1991.

Judge Adrian Colton QC told the defendant: "I impose the only sentence open to the court - that is the one of a life sentence."

The actual time he will spend behind bars has yet to be fixed.

Grisly details of Haggarty's crimes and his claims against others were disclosed in court in Belfast for the first time.

In one unrelated case, Haggarty told police of another man's alleged plan to attack a victim.

Prosecution barrister Ciaran Murphy QC said: "He wanted to cut his throat and hold a mirror in front of him."

Haggarty has also been convicted of conspiracy to murder Terry Fairfield.

The plan was to lure him to an industrial area in north Belfast and then shoot him in the face and make off on foot, Mr Murphy said.

His life was spared after the IRA declared its first ceasefire in August 1994.

The court was told details of the alleged role of a man who Haggarty said was a "major supplier" of bullets and mercury tilt switches used in explosives.

Haggarty alleged that he fixed an Uzi machine gun which was not working properly using equipment at his engineering premises.

Mr Murphy said: "He never charged the UVF for repairs, always just asking favours."

Haggarty was involved in a series of fraudulent rackets outlined in court.

Following the shooting of two men they were instructed to make compensation claims to the government for terrorism attacks and half the money was to be paid to the UVF, Mr Murphy said.

Haggarty was also prosecuted in connection with the burning down of an inn and a shop in Newtownabbey near Belfast where extortion was being carried out.

He was involved in defrauding BT by creating chipped BT phones which provided free calls for users.

The prosecution will continue outlining the facts on Thursday morning.

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