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Sunday Life

Ex-DUP mayor Hogg's 'secret messages to boy aged 14' - UDA issues threat

Disgraced former DUP mayor 'arranged to meet child at outdoor concert he helped to organise'

Hogg at the festival
Hogg at the festival
Thomas Hogg, Arlene Foster and Nigel Dodds.
Thomas Hogg and Nigel Dodds
Thomas Hogg
Ciaran Barnes

By Ciaran Barnes

Former DUP mayor Thomas Hogg was arrested by cops after allegedly sending sexual messages to a 14-year-old boy.

The politician — who has since resigned from the party and Antrim and Newtownabbey council — is suspected of arranging to meet the teen at the V36 music festival last weekend which he helped organise.

Sunday Life understands that messages Hogg is alleged to have sent were seen by an older relative of the boy who alerted police.

The 31-year-old was arrested in front of shocked young revellers at the council-backed concert in the Valley Park in Newtownabbey.

Our exclusive photograph was taken that evening just hours before he was arrested.

Witnesses say that as Hogg was being led away by cops, threats were shouted at the now ex-DUP politician, who was awarded an MBE in 2016.

The schoolboy who he is alleged to have been trying to groom for sex is from the local area.

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Sunday Life understands that the South East Antrim UDA has since issued warnings against Hogg, who has fled his home in the Ballysillan area of north Belfast and is understood to be staying with relatives in Fermanagh.

Last Wednesday, when it was confirmed that he was facing charges of sexual communication with a child and trying to entice a child into sexual activity, Hogg quit the DUP and council.

Party insiders say he sent his resignation via email and had he not left, he would have been immediately suspended.

Thomas Hogg and Nigel Dodds
Thomas Hogg and Nigel Dodds

They also revealed that North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds has been hit badly by the scandal as he helped promote Hogg.

“Nigel feels bitterly let down, he cannot believe that it has come to this,” said one senior DUP source. “He supported him standing in the last council elections in May and was pictured hugging him after he was elected,” added the insider.

“Nigel has told others in the party this week of his disappointment.”

Hogg has previously indicated that he may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) having spent four months on tour in Afghanistan with the Royal Irish Reserves (RIR).

He served as mayor (left) of Antrim and Newtownabbey over two consecutive years between 2014 and 2016 and was awarded the MBE by the Queen at the end of his final term.

Speaking after receiving the gong, Hogg said: “This is not something I ever contemplated or imagined, but I am nonetheless very honoured and humbled.”

Hogg was first elected to the council in 2011 aged just 23.

Until his arrest last week he also worked closely with the DUP’s North Belfast MLA Paula Bradley.

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