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UDA bullying ruined life of Belfast barber Chris

Exclusive grieving man's year from hell

Chris Moore and Hollie McCutcheon
Chris Moore and Hollie McCutcheon
Hollie McCutcheon's funeral at St. Matthew's Parish Church on the Woodvale Road, Belfast, Thursday, June 20th, 2019.
Mount Bar in Tigers Bay
Ciaran Barnes

By Ciaran Barnes

FRIENDS of a talented barber jailed for his role in a UDA-linked show of strength say bullying from the terror gang has ruined his life.

Pals of Chris Moore last night pleaded with any teenager thinking of joining a paramilitary group to look at his case and reconsider.

Until February 2018, the 27-year-old seemed to have everything - a gorgeous girlfriend, loving stepson and a good job.

But a mixture of tragedy and the malign influence of the West Belfast UDA has resulted in him losing it all along with his freedom.

Chris's girlfriend Hollie died of a heart attack last summer having bravely battled eating disorders and years of bullying.

This occurred while he was on bail for his role in a West Belfast UDA show of strength, which led to him being jailed for six months last week.

Now behind bars, Chris is unable to care for Hollie's young son with whom a court was told he has an "unbreakable bond". He has also lost his job as a barber and his chair which he rented at a thriving Belfast hair salon.

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His friends, who spoke to Sunday Life, blame paramilitaries on wrecking the past year of his life, saying that he was preoccupied with the prospect of going to prison while trying to care for partner Hollie.

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Hollie McCutcheon's funeral at St. Matthew's Parish Church on the Woodvale Road, Belfast, Thursday, June 20th, 2019.

"The West Belfast UDA used and abused Chris, they treated him like a piece of s**t," explained one furious pal.

"He was forced to go to that bar in north Belfast and take part in the show of strength. If he had refused he would have had his arms or legs broken as a punishment.

"The UDA knew Chris was caring for his partner Hollie and was dealing with a lot of issues at home, but they didn't care. They are scum."

Chris's furious pals, who are too frightened to be identified because they will be targeted by the UDA, said his case should serve as a warning to any teenager thinking of joining a paramilitary crime group.

One added: "It's heartbreaking because Hollie is dead, Chris has lost his job with being in jail, and her son will be without his stepdad for the next six months.

"The UDA brought a lot of unnecessary stress on that family, and for what? To take control of drug dealing in north Belfast. Its leaders like Matt Kincaid should be ashamed of themselves.

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Matt Kincaid

"Anyone thinking of joining a paramilitary group should look at Chris Moore's situation and ask themselves, 'Is it worth it?' - because the simple answer is no."

Chris was among 20 loyalists ordered by West Belfast UDA bosses in February 2018 to stage a show of strength at the Mount Bar in Tigers Bay.

They were sent there by the terror unit's 'brigadier' Matt Kincaid who wanted to seize control of crime rackets run by now deposed North Belfast UDA boss Sam 'Bib' Blair.

Afterwards, heavily-armed police, who were tipped off about the paramilitary display, stopped a car driving back to the Shankill Road.

Chris Moore was travelling in the vehicle along with David Majury (49) and Andrew Morrow (27). At Belfast Crown Court last week, the trio were sentenced to between six to eight months in prison for affray.

Judge Kevin Finnegan watched almost 20 minutes of television footage taken from the bar's CCTV system which captured the incident. It showed car loads of men arriving on the streets outside the bar before they rushed inside where women and young children were also present.

The footage displayed customers being directed into a corner by the mob before a message was delivered by one of the masked men.

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Mount Bar in Tigers Bay

Witnesses told police that five names were read out and warnings issued that their alleged anti-social behaviour would not be tolerated. The five men were later told by police they were under threat from the West Belfast UDA.

After the masked men delivered the threats, the court heard how they left the Mount Bar and got into waiting cars.

A prosecution barrister said Majury, Moore and Morrow walked out with scarves and hoods up and got into a vehicle together.

When the car was stopped and searched by police, who had arrived quickly on the scene, a balaclava was recovered from under the driver's seat.

The lawyer told Judge Finnegan: "This had all the hallmarks of a loyalist paramilitary gang."

Pleading for mercy, a barrister for Chris Moore, who sat in the dock with his head bowed, told how the Shankill Road man's partner Hollie had tragically died last June.

He said that this resulted in his client "taking on a father figure role for her seven-year-old son Nathan".

"He (Chris) is a constant, supportive figure. They have an unbreakable bond," explained the lawyer.

In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph after Hollie's death last summer, Chris spoke of his concern for little Nathan.

He said: "He's only seven and there are so many people around him. We've spoke to him to try and explain but he doesn't understand properly."

cbarnes@sundaylife.co.uk

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