Belfast Telegraph

LVF terrorist admits raft of charges

A man who was once accused of the murder of journalist Martin O'Hagan has pleaded guilty to 48 charges including managing a meeting in support of the LVF.

Last month at Belfast Magistrates Court the charge of murdering the 51-year-old Sunday World investigative journalist was dropped against 32-year-old Neil Hyde, but yesterday at the Crown Court he pleaded guilty to a litany of other offences.

Hyde, dressed in a black ski jacket and whose address has been given as c/o the Witness Protection Unit at PSNI Headquarters, remained standing in the dock of court 13 for 25 minutes as he repeated “guilty” to each of the charges.

In total he admitted to six charges relating to petrol bombs, nine of affray, drug dealing in cannabis and cocaine, five relating to arson or conspiring to commit arson, seven offences of having or conspiring to have firearms and ammunition, two offences of withholding information in relation to a murder and a wounding, robbery and attempted robbery, aggravated burglary, causing actual bodily harm and managing a meeting in support of a proscribed organisation, namely the LVF.

All the offences are alleged to have occurred on various dates between January 1, 1992 and January 24, 2008.

Sunday World reporter Martin O'Hagan was shot on September 28, 2001 as he walked home with his wife from a pub in Lurgan.

His killing was claimed by the Red Hand Defenders, a cover name used by the LVF and UDA at the time.

After the guilty pleas were entered, prosecution QC Gordon Kerr said there was no objection to Hyde being released on continuing bail until he is sentenced.

Judge Patrick Lynch QC ordered that a pre-sentence probation report be compiled and adjourned passing sentence until January 13 but told the court that date may change as the file remains with the office of the Lord Chief Justice to determine what level of judge will pass the final sentence.

Belfast Telegraph

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