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Former UVF commander pleads guilty to 200 offences, including five murders

Gary Haggarty’s numerous crimes had been under investigation by the PSNI’s Historical Enquiries Team for seven years.

Gary Haggarty court case Ciaran Fox (left) and Joe Convie, son and father of murder victims Eamon Fox and Gary Convie, outside Belfast Crown Court today Source: PA Wire/PA Images

A FORMER COMMANDER with the Loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force has pleaded guilty to 200 serious offences, including five murders.

45-year-old Gary Haggarty, a so-called Loyalist ‘supergrass’, has been today sentenced to life for those murders at Belfast Crown Court.

He is expected to testify in future murder trials against former UVF colleagues.

The crimes Haggarty was accused had been under investigation by the PSNI’s Historical Enquiries Team and the Northern Police Ombudsman since 2010.

Most of the crimes date from the 1990s, including:

  • The murder of Sean McParland, shot in front of his grandchildren in February 1994
  • The murders of Eamon Fox and Gary Convie, shot dead in their car in May of the same year
  • The shooting dead of Sean McDermott in August 1994
  • The killing of John Harbinson in May 1997

Haggarty also pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the murder or Peter McTasney, who was killed in front of his three-year-old daughter in February 1991.

He also pleaded guilty to numerous other crimes, including attempted murder, conspiracy to murder, kidnapping, hijacking, and 47 counts of possession of firearms and ammunition.

“Today’s court proceedings are a milestone for the victims, their families and also for the police investigation,” said PSNI Detective Superintendent Richard Campbell.

It has been a very long, arduous and painful process for these families and I hope today’s proceedings have made a significant contribution to the process of ultimately bringing closure to all the families of the victims of the Mount Vernon UVF during that time.
The PSNI remains committed to moving forward and working with the PPS (Public Prosecution Service) in relation to the next stages of the investigation into Mount Vernon UVF and others who were involved with committing these offences.
I understand the frustrations of the families over the length of time this has taken but I have always said that it was important to take the time to get it right.

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