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Loyalist 'supergrass' jailed for six-and-a-half years for five murders

Former Ulster Volunteer Force chief Gary Haggarty was a paid police informer.

ni Aaron McCone (son of John Harbinson) and Joe Convie (father of Gary Convie), look on as Keiran Fox (son of Eamon Fox) speaks to the media outside Laganside Court in Belfast Source: Liam McBurney/PA Wire/PA Images

A LOYALIST ‘SUPERGRASS’ has been sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison for 202 terror offences.

Former Ulster Volunteer Force chief Gary Haggarty, 46, had pleaded guilty to five murders. His 35-year jail term was reduced to six-and-a-half years for helping police.

Haggarty was a paid police informer for 11 years. The judge said the offences were “ones of exceptional gravity” but that he had provided significant information, BBC News reports.

One man is to be prosecuted over two murders as a result of his evidence.

Victims 

Speaking after the verdict in Belfast today, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said: “The Police Service of Northern Ireland has been investigating a series of murders and other serious crimes by the UVF in north Belfast since 2010, following investigations and reports by the Police Ombudsman and the Historical Enquiries Team.

Our thoughts today are first and foremost with the victims and their families especially those murdered by Gary Haggarty; namely Sean McParland who was shot in front of his young grandchildren in February 1994 and died as a result eight days later; Eamon Fox and Gary Convie who were shot dead as they ate their lunch in their car in May 1994; Sean McDermott who was shot dead in August 1994 and John Harbinson who was attacked on May 18 1997.

“Gary Haggarty has also pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the murder of Peter McTasney, who was shot dead in his home in front of his three-year-old daughter in February 1991.

“Nobody could ever fully appreciate how difficult a day this is for these families who have been so tragically affected,” Hamilton said.

He said the PSNI also acknowledged that today has been “a very difficult day for the families of those so tragically affected by the cases which did not reach the prosecutorial threshold”.

“Significant attempts have been made by the PSNI to bring justice to the families of the victims but we fully realise that this provides little comfort to these families whose grief remains undiminished with time. Our thoughts are also with them today.”

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