28 August 2003 Edition

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UVF 'Brigadier' charged with brutal assault

Mount Vernon UVF 'Brigadier' Mark Haddock is back in Belfast. The portly UVF commander had been on the run for almost three weeks, but was finally tracked down and arrested in south Wales this past Wednesday, 20 August.

Haddock was arrested as he sat in a car waiting to disembark the DĂșn Laoghaire to Holyhead ferry after it had docked at the Welsh port. He was then returned to Belfast and charged with attempted murder, arson, assault and unlawful imprisonment, following a vicous attack on a pub doorman last year.

Haddock denies all the charges.

Doorman Trevor Gowdy was beaten and struck repeatedly with a hatchet, crowbar and baton near a social club in the Monkstown estate of Newtownabbey on 20 December 2002.

PSNI officers found the seriously injured man lying on the ground in a pool of his own blood. His skull had been fractured and he had suffered bruising to the brain and several hatchet wounds. His car had been set on fire by his attackers and it is even alleged that at one point, someone had tried to chop off his hands.

Gowdy has since moved to England, where he remains in police protection. He still intends to return to the Six Counties to testify against the men who tried to kill him.

But even as Haddock stood in a Belfast courtroom grinning at the nearly 40 UVF supporters who had come to cheer him on, members of Gowdy's family were being moved from their homes in fear for their lives.

The home of one relative has already been targeted in a recent pipe bomb attack, and a further series of threats has been issued against both Gowdy's family and his friends in an ongoing attempt to stop him from giving evidence.

In court this past week, Haddock smiled, raised his hands in triumph, gave the thumbs up sign, and waved to supporters as he was remanded in custody until 17 September. The pro-UVF men and women responded by leaping to their feet, cheering and applauding.

Haddock is the second man to be charged in connection with the attack on Gowdy. North Belfast UVF man, Darren Moore, appeared in court last week, charged in connection with the same attack.

An Phoblacht
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