10 November 2005 Edition

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UVF informer moved to secure wing

Special Branch informer and UVF leader Mark Haddock is being held in a special secure unit at Maghaberry Prison after the PSNI warned jail authorities that his life would be in danger from UVF associates after he was named as an informer last month.

The news emerged as 36-year-old Haddock and four other North Belfast men went on trial at Belfast's Laganside Court on Monday 7 November charged in connection with the attempted killing of Trevor Gowdy, a doorman, in December 2002.

Haddock and Darren Stewart, both from the Mount Vernon Estate off the loyalist Shore Road are accused of attempting to murder Gowdy. Haddock fled the North after the attack and was subsequently arrested in Wales.

The three other men, from Newtownabbey, 29-year-old Alexander Thomas Wood of Milewater Way, Jason Loughlin of Bryson Court and his brother William of Ballyvessy Court are accused of plotting to assault Gowdy.

During a debate in Leinster House on 27 October, Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte used Parliamentary privilege to name Haddock as a long-time PSNI informant. He said Haddock had turned informer in 1993 and that he had been involved in eight UVF killings with the full knowledge of Special Branch. "The central allegation is that Haddock was not charged with any crime because he was an informer who had to be protected. He was able to act with impunity, while the PSNI effectively colluded in his crimes."

Haddock has never been charged in connection with any of the eight UVF killings he is said to have been involved in. He was among 12 unionists paramilitaries jailed in 1997 for involvement in an attack on Loyalist Volunteer Force supporters in County Armagh.

Meanwhile, North Belfast UDA leader Andre Shoukri was among five loyalists arrested on Tuesday 8 November. Shoukri's brother Ihab was also among the four men and one woman arrested during raids in the Westlands Estate in North Belfast.

A number of other PSNI raids took place in the Castlereagh area of East Belfast.

The news of the arrests comes after one loyalist was taken under the PSNI's Witness Protection Scheme.

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