Belfast Telegraph

Supergrass trial: Witness denies 'deal of century' to turn informer

Loyalist informer Robert Stewart has denied that he received the "deal of the century" in return for giving evidence against 14 UVF suspects in Belfast's ongoing supergrass trial.

The suggestion came on Stewart's fifth day in the witness box at Belfast Crown Court from a lawyer for one of the accused - UVF commander Mark Haddock.

Frank O'Donoghue QC put it to 37-year-old Stewart that serving two years and 10 months for aiding and abetting in the murder of UDA leader Tommy English in 2000 was the deal of the century.

But Stewart said it wasn't his choice to release him. "That was down to the judge and the commissioners" - a reference to the Parole Commissioners.

Mr O'Donoghue asked Stewart if he was full of remorse for his part in the murder and over 100 other offences with which he was charged.

The informer said: "Yes, I wouldn't be sitting here if I wasn't." The lawyer replied: "You haven't shown much of it in the past four days."

Stewart said he wished he had had nothing to do with Mr English's murder and said he couldn't have killed someone in front of their children.

The court heard that Stewart told police he was as "sick as a pig" when another accused, Ronald Bowe, said he wanted Mr English's murder to be over so that he could go home for a kebab.

Stewart was also asked about a statement he'd made two years ago to police in which he said he had seen a black BMW car belonging to one of the accused, Mark Haddock, parked near shops in the New Mossley estate in Newtownabbey on the day of the English murder.

He told detectives he recognised the car but Mr O'Donoghue said that in documents of disclosure to the defence yesterday, the PSNI had revealed that around the time of his alleged sighting, Haddock's car had been seen by police officers in the Mount Vernon estate, six miles away in Belfast.

Stewart said he knew Haddock drove a black BMW and assumed the car at New Mossley was his.

"You would do anything to save your neck," said Mr O'Donoghue.

"No, your client (Haddock) would do anything to save his neck," replied Stewart.

"Do you know what the truth is?" asked Mr O'Donoghue.

"Yes," said Stewart. "But I don't think your client knows what the truth is," he replied.

He denied Mr O'Donoghue's suggestion that he was giving evidence purely out of spite against the accused.

The case continues.

Belfast Telegraph

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