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Loyalist Mark Haddock faces prosecution over three UVF murders


Loyalist Mark Haddock

Loyalist Mark Haddock

Loyalist Mark Haddock

A prominent loyalist and informer arrested in England by detectives investigating sectarian murders in Belfast is to be reported for prosecution in Northern Ireland.

Mark Haddock was being questioned at Newbury police station in Berkshire on Tuesday night.

The 45-year-old was detained by the PSNI as part of an investigation into three UVF killings two decades ago.

A PSNI spokeswoman said the arrest was part of Operation Stafford, an investigation into a series of murders and other serious crimes by the UVF in north Belfast.

Police said today (Wednesday) the suspect would be "reported for prosecution to the Public Prosecution Service".

Workmen Gary Convie (24) and Eamon Fox (44) were in their car at a building site in North Queen Street in Belfast on May 17, 1994 when a gunman opened fire with a sub-machine-gun.

Mr Fox and Mr Convie were Catholic builders from Co Armagh who were attacked while eating their lunch, close to their building site.

Mr Fox had six children, while Mr Convie was a father of one.

Just three months before that, 55-year-old Sean McParland from south Belfast was shot in Skegoniel Avenue in north Belfast on February 17, 1994 while babysitting.

Haddock is an alleged former UVF leader in north Belfast who gained further prominence when the expensive loyalist supergrass trial into the murder of north Belfast UDA rival Tommy English collapsed in 2012.

The three murders, along with seven others, were part of a report from the Police Ombudsman into collusion between police and loyalists in the north Belfast Mount Vernon UVF gang.

It also investigated the murder of 22-year-old Protestant Raymond McCord jnr, whose father campaigned for the watchdog to carry out a probe into the Mount Vernon gang over the murders of his son, Mr English and John Harbinson.

The 2007 report from Nuala O'Loan's office concluded that there had been collusion between police and loyalists in these murders.

Mr Harbinson, a 39-year-old Protestant, was found dead in May 1997.

He had been handcuffed and beaten by a UVF gang at Mount Vernon.

Haddock survived an assassination attempt, believed to have been carried out by his former loyalist colleagues.

He was shot a number of times and badly injured in the attack in Newtownabbey, just outside Belfast, in May 2006.