Loyalists given 18-year sentences

Four Belfast loyalists described by a judge as 'ruthless terrorists bent on wholesale murder' were each jailed for 18 years yesterday. The heavily armed men were spotted by police in a car in a Catholic area of the city on 2 December 1991, Belfast Crown Court was told.

Joseph Coggle, 34, Matthew McMullan, 24, Robert Irwin, 24, and Paul McClelland, 24, had denied conspiracy to murder and possessing weapons with intent to endanger life. Lord Justice Kelly said: 'I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that you conspired with each other to commit murder and were ready to do so.'