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Deadly Liaisons

Mandy McAuley investigates the controversy around supergrass trials, following the acquittals of nine men of the UVF murder of UDA boss Tommy English.

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This programme contains strong This programme contains strong


language.. The end of a loyalist supergrass trial that cost the


taxpayer millions of pounds. Nine men acquitted of murder, after the


testimony of two state witness, the Stewart brothers was found to be


infected with lies. It would have been obvious to anyone. What is


being done to investigate those alleged to have colluded with


killers. The UVF trial that ended in the acquittals was the result of


a ground breaking report by the As a consequence, the position of


the UVF, particularly in what Belfast was consolidated and


Most significantly, the Ombudsman believes the gang was riddled with


police informers. Nuala O'Lone recommended that two investigations


be carried out as a matter of Tonight we can reveal five years on


the investigation into allegations of police collusion appears to be


going nowhere. We hear about deep concerns of what are seen as


failure to follow through on recommendation to pursue those


suspected of colluding in murder. don't quite understand why, no


action was taken, because there is a statutory duty. My belief is the


current ombudsman is under the same obligations I was and this should


have been investigated. If you have police officers who were handlers,


that needs to be dealt with as matter of priority. It really needs


to be dealt with as matter of priority. Particularly where the


crimes are murder. The ombudsman says all will be investigated and


it complies with its statutory duty. How high did the alleged collusion


with murder go? And what else do the Supergrasss have to reveal? It


is not just about the UVF. These people may well been the puppets on


the end of strings. Who dropped the practices and policies of that


Hallowe'en night 2000. Traditionally, a family time.


Newtonabbey Tommy English and his wife were at home with their three


young children. Tommy was a one time UDA boss in North Belfast who


had become involved in the peace process. He was a prominent member


of the UDP. Just after tea time, Tommy and his wife Doreen were


watching television in the living room. Their children, aged ten and


under, were playing upstairs. Hearing a noise dar reen -- Doreen


opened the back door to find men puts on masks, ready to sledge


hammer their way into her house. They were pushing me and slapping


me about with guns to get out of the road, and chaos, really. The


biggest guy, he aimed the gun again, and I went for his face, just for


his eye, to try and stop him, seeing what he was doing. And after


that, I was hit in the head and the face with a gun, and punched a few


times. Tommy was shot in the back, as he tried to run upstairs.


Towards his children. He stopped and stared. All of a sudden, two


men came to the bottom of the stairs. It was really just, bangs,


you were hearing bang, and sort of blinking with the shock of the bang.


And my dad started to fall backwards down the stairs. He


landed in the hallway. They beat my mum so bad she was literally blood


smeared all over her face, her clothes. We actually thought it was


my dad's blood. The gunmen left and Mark's young sister ran into the


street. I ran out the door, screaming for help, in bare feet,


and I got to the neighbours and bashed their window, screaming for


help, saying "Something's happened to my daddy, I neat help." They


told me to go away, but I think they thought it was a Hallowe'en


prank, and so I just kept running. And screaming. Mince later, two of


the gunmen came back. They checked Thomas, and I lifted the phone, and


I could hear what sounded to be the biggest one shouting "Get back here


and finish the bastard off." Three times he shouted that and I was


phoning for an ambulance, and then I started veeming "Please leave him


alone. Don't shoot him again." And the smaller one shot him again.


Mark and his twin brother Thomas junior pictured here as toddlers


were beside their father, as he lay dying at the bottom of the stairs.


We were terrified. Really terrified. We couldn't stop screaming. We sort


of sat, stood for a while, and, in shock, we couldn't move. We were


screaming, it was absolutely horrendous. Horrifying. For a child


of that age, to watch their own parent die. Soon after the murder,


police contacted Doreen with news of a potential lead. A man had been


caught on CCTV, buying the sledge hammer which had been used in the


attack. But Doreen English was about to get a terrible shock.


brought me in, and asked me if I could be, if I would look at the


photograph to see if I knew the person in that, and it was


horrendous. I just couldn't believe my eyes. The man she was looking at


in the footage, is her brother, Neil Pollock. It was one of the


worst things I've ever had to do, was to say that's my brother. You


know. It was just heart wrenching. Doreen helped to raise her young


brother seen here as a page boy to her marriage to Tommy. Neil would


join the couple on family holidays. Every day at the trial, Doreen


faced her brother in the dock. He was found guilty of possessing an


item intended for terrorism and of intent to pervert the course of


justice. But Doreen believes he knows a lot more about her


husband's death. What would you say to your brother, Neil, today,


because he could help put your husband's murderers away. Well, I


would just say "Neil my daddy brought you up with more morals,


and I am just dumbfounded that you haven't had the decency in you to


do the right thing, and I know it's a hard thing to do, to tell the


truth, when there's so many people out there that's wanting to harm


you, but I don't know how you will live with yourself if you don't do


the right thing and tell what you know." At the time of the murder


police said that the death was part of a bloody UDA, yuvyuv feud but


Doreen says there may have been deeply personal motives for the


selection of her husband as a target. Asked by police if she knew


of anyone who wanted to do her husband harm she named two men. One


was this man, Mark Haddock who has just been acquitted of the murder.


Haddock and Thomas never seen eye to eye, the similar reason Thomas


was in the UDA, he was in the UVF. They had a lot of run ins and it


was more like a macho thing. Thomas wouldn't back down to him. They


just hated each other. And the other was this man, John Bond, who


was also acquitted. Doreen's brother-in-law who was married to


her sister Christine. Christine Bond had an affair with Tommy


English. They lived together for about four months. She had left


John for Thomas and Thomas left her and she ended up with John. Apart


from her brother the only two people who have been convicted of


involvement in the murder of Tommy English are the Stewart brother,


Robert and Ian who in August 2009 became assisting offenders. Doreen


English says police told her that the brothers handed themselves in,


just weeks after coming upon the scene of a motorbike accident, in


which her son Thomas junior was killed. The boy, who was beside his


father as he lay dying. According to police, the incident had a


profound effect on the Stewarts. Who later confessed their role in


the murder and implicated 14 other loyalists in up to 30 offences.


They said that they had been having a hard time dealing with their part


in Thomas's murder. And that our son died in a wee motorbike


accident, and they said that they passed the scene that night that he


-- died, and saw him, and after that, they went to England for a


couple of weeks, and then basically couldn't live with themselves, it


was like the last straw for them. That broke their back, so they


The only good thing they came out of her brother's death, was the


impact that seemed to have had on the stewards. You are always asking


why. I went to myself, this is why he has died, to give us just us.


That is Thomas's reason. I always thought, this is just this for us,


he has died for just this. I also said to myself, it does show that


the brothers to have remorse. there can be little doubt that the


stewards decision was also influenced by the fact that they


got 15 years of their sentence for murder. In his judgment, the judge


described the Stewart Brothers as a ruthless criminals whose evidence


was full of lies Anne's the memory was affected by many years of drug


abuse. The judge said that these were obviously the same men wearing


new suits. Robert Stewart also admitted it Fenty had had sex with


a series of under-aged children. Revelations about the brothers


raised a number of hard questions at for the prosecution service and


the police, given that the case cost �15 million. How good the


Public Prosecution Service had been the brothers to be credible


witnesses, given the lack of any credible supporting evidence? The


director of the PPS it recently told the BBC that he was satisfied


there was a case to answer. There is a basis for being extremely


careful in the way of the evidence in a case such as this and. I am


satisfied that there was a very careful consideration of the


material in this case. The police spent two years assessing the


Stewart Brothers, but stressed that the deal was a matter for the PDS.


While the murder of Tommy English was one of a number of killings


investigated by the former Police Ombudsman NEWLINE alone, the report


itself had been triggered by the father of a murder victim. Raymond


mid-court had bought a complaint to her office in 2003. He believed


that his son had been murdered by members of the UVF gang and that


the police investigation had been hampered because the killers were


Special Branch informers. In the course of the investigation, at


Nuala O'Lone looked again at up to 15 murders which she suspected have


not been properly investigated by police because at least four of the


chief suspects were Special Branch Agents, actively involved in the


UVF murder operations. Of the four police agents mentioned, informant


one is now widely believed to be this man, Mark Haddock. He was one


of the two men whose names of Doreen English says she gave to


police and the night of her husband's murder. He was actually


arrested for questioning shortly after Thomas was murdered and he


was found to have documents in his car with Thomas's name, address,


registration and make of car. O'Lone's report confirmed that


there was intelligence linking Mark Haddock and three of his associates


to the killing of Tommy English. They were arrested a week later for


provided alibis for each other and were released without charge. I


first investigated Mark Haddock in 2006. At that stage I was unable to


name him for legal reasons, but I spoke to the man who first


recruited him as a CID informer. Speaking publicly for the first


time Trevor Mackle wrath told me that alarm bells began ringing


after his agent was recruited by Special Branch in 1991. Be heard


reports that Mark Haddock have been arrested as the driver in a


suspected murder, only to be released cater without charge.


could not be seen to be the only one that got away. The gunman was


caught, he was the driver, so he was called, too. He spent six or


nine months on demand, then one day the charges were withdrawn. Or


dropped by the Director of Public Prosecutions. But from the moment


he got into the murder car he was never going to be prosecuted for


that murder bid. No. They go so was an informer? Correct. It in 2006


Michael wrath was adamant that he had alerted his superiors did the


fact that an agent was out of control, but he was repeatedly


ignored. How high up to disco on? Senior ranking policeman would have


known? Yes. He in the 1990s most of the victims of the UVF were


loyalists. But some of the attacks on local nationalists were purely


sectarian, including to one Mark Haddock and his gang are alleged to


have carried out on this man, whose case was also re-examined. In March


1992 John Flynn worked for a Catholic taxi firm near Mount


Vernon. One evening he was called to wait at the hospital were a


gunman was lying in wait. I went down towards five, head the horn.


Nobody was about. Two minutes later somebody appeared out of the


darkness. With a grey hooded top. He pulled a weapon. It didn't go


off, so I ran and he ran after me. I fell and he stood over me. The


weapon did not work again, you know? I don't know where I got the


string from, but I grabbed him and the weapon. I knew once I got my


hands on its that I had a chance, you know? He would not let go of it


and either we dive. I lifted him clean off the ground. Through the


window. In the doctor's surgery. Was the attacker wearing a mask?


Know. What did he look like? I give a Photofit at the police station.


He had short dark hair, skin Head tide. Moustache. Well built. Tattoo.


Where was the tattoo? On his arm. The description resembled some of


the details of the appearance of Mark Haddock. Intelligence sources


at the time pointed to the Mark Haddock. Agents after that told us


that Mark Haddock had done that. John Flynn says he believes the


attacker's prints were on the gun that was left that the scene and


possibly his blood on his clothes. In 1997 the UVF tried to kill him


again by printing a bomb under his car. The two days later I got a


mass card through the post. It said on it, third time lucky. UVF,


Tiger's Bay. Nuala O'Lone concluded that the collusion was systemic.


She found evidence that police had withheld information about agents


suspected of murder and subjected informants to sham interviews


before releasing them without charge. She also found that Special


Branch had routinely destroyed a evidence linking agents to crimes.


Nuala O'Lone was convinced that this was a deliberate strategy and


that junior officers could not have operated as they did without what


she called knowledge and support at the highest levels of the RUC, PSNI.


It was very, very shocking and remains shocking. Where we had


found clear evidence of collusion, were we have found clear evidence


that crimes which had been admitted to, of which police were aware, had


not been prosecuted. Crimes which clearly required proper


investigation and had not been investigated. Nuala O'Lone was so


shocked by the potential scale of the collusion that she recommended


that not only should the killers be investigated properly, but also


allegations that handlers and their superiors had been involved in


murder, but so far not a single charge has resulted from the second


investigation. So, why has one of the investigations fallen so far


behind the other? In 2007 the Historical Enquiries Team was asked


to implement the recommendations of the ballast report. The lawyer who


acts on behalf of some of the victims says that his impression


was that the Historical Enquiries Team was making good progress.


were getting good teeth into this case, as I understand it, and were


examining all aspects, including the investigation of handlers.


2009 the investigation into loyalist killings was transferred


to the police's Serious Crime Branch. The police said this was


the most appropriate mechanism to take the work forward and the


investigation of the police handlers and controllers was


transferred to the ombudsman's office. But three years later there


appears to have been little movement. We understand that as


recently as last month there were just two officers are signed to the


investigation of handlers and controllers are suspected of


involvement in serious crimes, including murder. A situation which


we understand the Ombudsman has attributed to a serious lack of


resources. Nuala O'Lone says that if that is the case, it is just not


good enough. I tell you something, it is possible to do this with


maybe a dozen members of staff. Certainly, the number of


investigators that the Police Ombudsman has, and with the number


of investigators whom I had working on historical cases, we managed to


do it. He if you were still the ombudsman, with the investigation


of handlers and their controllers be your priority? I would have


carried on from where I left off. As the evidence began to come


through from the police investigations, I would have been


proceeding with my investigations. We as the Ombudsman to confirm how


many staff had been assigned to this investigation since 2009 and


how much funding had been requested for this aspect of its


investigation? Has anyone been Some of the families of the victims


are also deeply troubled by the fact that they had thought that


both investigations into the alleged killers and the police


handlers were being supervised by a specially established oversight


panel consisting of Nuala O'Lone and a leading barrister, Richard


Harvey. In reality, the panel is only looking at the investigation


into loyalists. One of the concerns which Richard Hardy and I have is


that if the Police Ombudsman is in doing their handler and controllers


stuff, they are not investigating that, but the police are


investigating murders. It is not impossible that you might end up


with somebody charged in court to turns round in court and says,


actually, my handler told me I could do this. Then there would be


serious problems. It is important that the Police Ombudsman is


working as fast as the police. of those who criticised the speed


of the investigation into handlers believes that the failure of the


reasons Supergrass trial may have been a deliberate attempt to


frustrate justice. People other than Special Branch handlers and


controllers have been used this scapegoats to promote in a


disproportionate way and downsize the key sensitive investigation


then needs to take place, and that is a full-scale criminal


investigation against the Special Branch handlers and controllers.


That has not happened. Instead there has been a diversion and the


focus of money and resources, millions of pounds, to promote what


a month you could be perceived as a showcase supergrass trial to the


exclusion of the other core component of Operation Ballast.


is a view shared by the Committee on the administration of justice.


It is a mystery to us sitting on the outside why no other


prosecutions have taken place prior to this. In relation to the matters


that were uncovered in the ballast report that would have used other


types of evidence that might have been more effective why do you


think? Whether it's to prevent embarrassment or cover up the


misconduct of police officers. But that is the case it is unacceptable.


No one is above the law. There is now growing specification that's


the forthcoming Gary Haggarty trial that will finally bring the police


handlers and their agents to ahead. Haggarty turned Supergrass after he


was charged with the murder of John Harman's son in 1997. The dried


fruit -- the body of a taxi driver was found in Mount Vernon. He had


been beaten beyond recognition. His co-accused in their case is Mark


Haddock. So, given the acquittals in the recent supergrass case, does


the UVF have much to fear from the forthcoming Hegarty trial? They


might say, look at the Stuart case, look at how it ended. Will the


Hegarty case be any different? we got anything more to fear?


spoke to a senior loyalist, someone who would know Hegarty very well


and he said compare to the Stewarts, Hegarty would be A* witness. A


memory as sharp as a razor. Someone referred to as Mr gadget. He walked


about with all sorts of gadgetry and recording equipment. What the


loyalist leadership fears is that he may have recorded some of their


meetings. Gary Hegarty reaches of the on the UPF. It is level of the


organisation he would have sat at meetings of the military command,


so do they fear him more than the Stewart Brothers? They did fear his


information, his credibility, his status more. Loyalist spokes people


such as Ken Watkinson warned of dire consequences if the assisting


offenders system is used to prosecute senior UVF figures.


People have to look at what they are bringing down an art community.


I stress quite clearly now that if they continue with these they are


going to destabilise loyalist communities. When you say


destabilise, what do you mean? people who are there within


loyalism, of within the section of loyalism that I deal with have been


there for the last 30 years working at that to bring down a peaceful


roads, and they have achieved that. Why take people back? Out take


these people out of our society, the stabilisers? Why leave the


young hawks are there? In a way, that is a threat. So, should be not


go after the UVF because it might destabilise that leadership? Or are


we not going after that UVF leadership because the real story


is were dead UVF leadership takes you to? It takes you to see people


and to see places and those people in those places are not meant to be


seen. One pointer as to how this might happen can be seen him walk


Ken Watkinson says is his attitude to the naming of police handlers


and their superiors. We all want to know. We want to know who the


handlers are. These people are damaging our society, my community.


I think it goes right to the very top of government. I think they


have to look at themselves. Sometimes these people might have


to look in the mirror instead of continually pointing the finger --


pointing the finger against us. Last week Gary Haggarty lost... he


gave police as an assisting an offender over two years of


intensive debriefing so. The court heard that on those tapes he has


made allegations of criminality by him and by others including police


officers. The Haggarty case offers a significant opportunity to


advance the investigation of police handlers, according to Nuala O'Lone.


There is currently another assisting offenders like the


Stewart Brothers being interviewed. The Police Ombudsman is Billy aware


of what is happening in that. Any material which has been given by


that person which relates to police officer misconduct or criminality,


the Police Ombudsman will already have. I guess if I was the Police


Ombudsman that would be being followed up. It seems to me from


what is being said that they have not got to that stage. Last night


In the meantime, John Flynn says he will keep fighting until he gets


justice. He is taking a judicial review against the Police Ombudsman


and the Chief Constable to explain the lack of movement in the current


investigation into alleged collusion. Would you encourage


former Special Branch handlers to co-operate in any future inquiry?


think that people should co-operate as much as possible. I would urge


people in as much as they feel they can themselves to come forward and


Corporate because it is in the interests of all of us to make sure


that the trip comes out and that justice is done. That is the key


point as far as the public is concerned to -- confirmed, that


victims get justice. As to whether or not the role of loyalist and


republican informants and their handlers will ever see the light of


day, opinions are divided. We are meant to live with this notion that


this was a place of warring tribes that had within it an honest


referee. The honest referee became a player in the war. That is why we


talk about the dirty war and its ugly truths. I think that is why


they will always be barriers in the way of a trip process and it is why


we will never have MI5, the Special Branch, the army, the police in the


same room with the IRA and loyalists. Do you think the trip


will ever come out? I think the truth has a way of coming out


eventually, yes. I don't think anyone would have expected there


Mandy McAuley investigates the controversy around supergrass trials, following the acquittals of nine men of the UVF murder of UDA boss Tommy English.

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