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Simon Walker to be sentenced after threatening to kill Belfast UDA boss Jim Spence

Mental health issues had put case in jeopardy

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Simon Walker

Simon Walker

UDA boss Jim Spence

UDA boss Jim Spence

Becky Spence-Pollock

Becky Spence-Pollock

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Simon Walker

THE man who threatened to kill UDA boss Jim Spence and attacked him with a wheel brace will be sentenced next month.

Simon Walker is due to learn his fate on charges of harassing the veteran loyalist, smashing the windows of his daughter Becky Spence-Pollock’s pub on the Shankill Road and phoning in a bogus bomb alert to Musgrave police station.

He will also be sentenced for misuse of a public electronic communication system.

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UDA boss Jim Spence

UDA boss Jim Spence

UDA boss Jim Spence

The 44-year-old had been due to find out his prison term in October, but the sentencing hearing was delayed as he had been detained under a mental health order after suffering psychosis.

On that occasion his solicitor told the court that the severity of his mental health issues could affect whether the case against him proceeded or was thrown out.

But during a hearing at Belfast Magistrates Court last week, his guilty pleas to seven separate charges were confirmed and the matter listed for sentencing on March 16.

District Judge Mark McGarrity ordered pre-sentence reports on Walker, of Loughview Glen in north Belfast, and he is currently free on bail ahead of the final hearing.

Walker pleaded guilty to harassing Spence between April 11 and June 3 last year before threatening to kill him on July 9.

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Becky Spence-Pollock

Becky Spence-Pollock

Becky Spence-Pollock

He also pleaded guilty to criminal damage and possessing an offensive weapon, namely a wheel brace as well as charges of common assault, threats to kill, sending threatening messages and harassment.

Walker was arrested by police last July after a rampage on the Shankill Road in west Belfast that started when he smashed a window at Bar Berlin — which is owned by Becky Spence-Pollock.

Waving a wheel brace, Walker then assaulted her father Jim Spence near his home on the Ballygomartin Road, while screaming that he was going to kill the Woodvale UDA chief.

The self-styled vigilante also posted threatening online messages about the loyalist and made other warnings on social media on dates between April and June last year.

One witness to the attack on Spence told Sunday Life Walker was “out of control” and “ranting and raving like a lunatic”.

Spence is one of the most high-profile loyalists in Northern Ireland and has been heavily linked to the murder of solicitor Pat Finucane by the UDA in 1989, something he denies.

In a joint statement to this newspaper following Walker’s court appearance last year, Spence and his daughter said: “Mr Spence has been the subject of a bizarre and obsessive campaign from this individual.

“This has ranged from incomprehensible rants on the internet to branding an offensive weapon in a public place. Sadly, this bizarre campaign also included attacking property belonging to Becky Spence-Pollock.

“It is the hope of both Mr Spence and Mrs Spence-Pollock that this individual, who clearly suffers from mental health problems, gets the professional medical help he needs, and in doing so can break this obsessive compulsion which has landed him before the courts on serious charges.”


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