Belfast Telegraph

Loyalist killer Haggarty should get credit for information he provided, court hears

By Ashleigh McDonald

Loyalist killer turned supergrass Gary Haggarty should receive credit for the information he provided to Special Branch regarding the UVF's terrorist activities, a court heard on Thursday.

After a senior prosecutor told Belfast Crown Court that Haggarty and others carried out "cold, calculated and remorseless acts" during his reign of terror, Haggarty's barrister accepted he had carried out a "catalogue of atrocious offending" - but spoke of the information he provided to his handlers.

Defence barrister Martin O'Rourke QC said that whilst Haggarty's guilty plea "did not seek to undermine the hurt that he had caused", he should receive a discount in his sentence for the information he gave about the activities of the terrorist organisation of which he was a senior member.

Pointing out Haggarty will be acting as a prosecution witness in the trial of a man accused of murdering workmates Gary Convie and Eamon Fox in north Belfast in May 1994, Mr O'Rourke also said Haggary's confessions have helped the Historical Enquiries Team.

The barrister revealed that Haggarty was sworn into the UVF in 1991, and became a Special Branch agent two years later after he was arrested about the murder of Sharon McKenna, who was shot dead by the UVF on the Shore Road in January 1993.

In his 11 years as a police informer, the 45-year old - whose address was given as c/o PSNI Knocknagoney Road, Belfast - told his handlers many details surrounding UVF activity.

This, Mr O'Rourke said, included specific details about murders and who was involved, and the location of a caravan park fellow UVF men were hiding in after they beat and kicked John Harbinson to death in Mount Vernon in May 1997.

More to follow

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