UVF trial halted as fumes fill courtroom
Belfast Crown Court was evacuated yesterday after the second of two brothers giving evidence in the UVF supergrass trial took to the witness stand.
Proceedings were halted when the courtroom had to be cleared when petrol fumes could be smelt.
However, it later transpired that a PSNI or prison service vehicle had been parked outside beside ducts for the building's ventilation system.
Taking the stand dressed in a black suit, white shirt and tie, was 41-year-old David Ian Stewart.
The Stewart brothers are giving evidence in return for reduced jail terms for their admissions to involvement in the murder of UDA leader Tommy English, who was gunned down in his Ballyduff estate home at Halloween 11 years ago.
Stewart claimed that the murder of English was discussed at a meeting in a flat in New Mossley.
He told prosecution QC Gordon Kerr that alleged Special Branch informer Mark Haddock, six other accused, himself and his brother attended the meeting.
Speaking in a monotone voice, Stewart claimed Haddock told them PUP worker Bertie Rice had been "shot that morning by the hair bears, which means the UDA".
Before Haddock produced a sawn-off shotgun and David 'Reggie' Miller a handgun, Stewart claimed Haddock told them that "Tommy English was a f***** he wanted killed dead".
He claimed three of the accused volunteered to go to the English home at Ballyfore Gardens to shoot him.
Stewart said that as a "smiling" Haddock left the flat, he told Wood: "Try not to shoot the kids but make sure you get the f*****."
The trial continues.