30 May 2006

COLLUSION SUSPECT SHOT OUTSIDE BELFAST

IAIS

05/30/06 11:07 EST

A leading Ulster Volunteer Force paramilitary member is critical after being shot in County Antrim.

The attack happened just before 4PM local time this afternoon in Newtownabbey. It is understood Mark Haddock, 36, has been taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast with multiple wounds.

Mr. Haddock was questioned by detectives about the murder in 1997 of 22-year-old Raymond McCord, whose killing is the focus of a major RUC collusion investigation by the Police Ombudsman.

The inquiry is the biggest ever carried out by Nuala O`Loan`s officers.

The Ombudsman`s report is due to be published within weeks.

Mark Haddock`s former associates in the UVF are the chief suspects in what police are treating as a murder attempt.

He is currently on bail on a charge of attempting to murder doorman, Trevor Gowdy, at a social club in Monkstown nearly four years ago.

Haddock was named in that court case as a leading UVF member. Judgement in the trial has been reserved.

Part of the Doagh Road has been sealed off as police carry out a follow up investigation.

North Belfast DUP MP Nigel Dodds said he was shocked at the shooting.

"This is an appalling incident which will be condemned by all right thinking people," he said.

"Regardless of circumstances no one has the right to take the law into their own hands and I would call upon anyone with information to assist the police in order to bring those responsible to justice."

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