A top loyalist has been jailed for life after pleading guilty to 200 terrorist related charges including the murder of two Maghery men.
Mr Eamon Fox and Mr Gary Convie were gunned down at a building site in North Queen’s Street in north Belfast on May 17, 1994 while eating their lunch.
Gary Haggarty (45) a former brigadier of the south east Antrim UVF turned police ‘supergrass’, pleaded guilty to 200 offences including five counts of murder.
Haggarty, formerly of Rush Park, Belfast but now with an address as c/o of PSNI Knocknagoney, Belfast, entered pleas of guilty to all 200 charges following an eight year police investigation.
Eamon Fox’s son Kieran spoke outside the court today (Friday): “For the charges he is charged with, in an ideal world, that man should never see daylight.
“He knows he’s done wrong. His hands are deep in blood along with the people he is going to expose.
“And because of who he is going to expose, it’s never going to finish.”
Haggarty, a former tyre fitter, stood in the dock of Belfast Crown flanked by two officers from the PSNI’s Tactical Support Group, as the clerk read out the charges which spanned a 16 year period from 1991 until 2007.
Judge Mr Justice Treacy told Haggarty: “In respect of the pleas of guilty to murder, the only sentence that can be passed by this court is one of life imprisonment.”
He added that whatever tariff to be imposed would be set at a later date.
The court heard that on that date “an accepted factual summary’’ drafted by the prosecution and defence would be prepared for the court dealing with the factual basis of each of the 200 charges.
Prosecution counsel Ciaran Murphy QC said it would take two days to go through the charges and related matters and the Public Prosectuion Service would also provide a “written document setting out precisely where they are” in relation to Haggary’s status as an assisting offender.
Mr Justice Treacy was told that Haggarty had agreed to become an “assisting offender’’ to both the police and prosecution.
This relates to the terrorist related activities of other UVF members.
Defence counsel Martin O’Rourke told the court that there would be no need for a pre-sentence report as the papers in the case were “so voluminous’’.
Mr Justice Treacy said that the sentencing hearing would take place on September 25 and September 26 this year
Addressing the police in the dock, the judge said: “Take him down to the cells then.”
Haggarty was escorted from the court by four police officers and two prison officers but was not placed in handcuffs.