Loyalist leader cleared of murder


Loyalist leader Mark Haddock was cleared today of the murder of paramilitary rival Tommy English 12 years ago.

Ulster Defence Association (UDA) chief English, 40, was gunned down in his house in Newtownabbey, Co Antrim in front of his wife and three young children on Halloween night in 2000 during a bloody feud between the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and the UDA.

Sitting for 21 weeks, the trial at Belfast Crown Court was one of the longest in Northern Ireland's legal history and is set to be one of the most expensive.

The prosecution case against 13 men in the five month trial at Belfast Crown Court was based on the testimony of two brothers and self-confessed UVF members who turned state's evidence in return for significantly reduced jail terms.

Window cleaners Robert and Ian Stewart alleged that nine of the defendants were involved in the murder.

Four others stood accused of lesser offences including assisting offenders, perverting the course of justice, and meting out paramilitary beatings.

A 14th man walked free from court last month after judge Mr Justice John Gillen, who sat without a jury, ruled that he had no case to answer.

Mr Justice Gillen delivered a withering assessment of the evidence provided by the two brothers, saying Robert and Ian Stewart's testimony was "infected with lies".

The judge said he was not convinced that men he described as "ruthless criminals and unflinching terrorists" had turned over a new leaf and decided to tell the truth.

"These were the same men wearing new suits," he said.

The so-called "supergrass" trial has been controversial, with supporters of the accused likening the case to high profile trials in the 1980s, which saw both loyalist and republican paramilitaries jailed on the evidence of former colleagues who turned state's evidence.

There was a major security presence today with armed police in court and the public gallery was packed.

There was applause from the public gallery and muted cheers at the verdicts.

After embracing and shaking hands, they emerged from the court room to be greeted by loud cheers from family and supporters waiting outside.

In delivering judgment, Justice Gillen insisted the verdicts were not a reflection on the practice of relying on the evidence of criminals who have turned state's witness, but were based on the unreliability of the Stewart brothers.

Haddock and 11 of his co-accused were cleared of all charges.

Only one defendant, Neil Pollock, 36, from north Belfast, was found guilty.

He was convicted of perverting the course of justice and possessing an item likely to be of use to terrorists - namely a sledgehammer.

Crucially, the evidence on which those verdicts were based did not rely on the testimony from the Stewart brothers.


peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam