01 June 2006

Haddock 'set up' by his former UVF comrades

Belfast Telegraph

By Jonathan McCambridge
01 June 2006

Leading loyalist Mark Haddock is likely to have been set up for Tuesday's murder attempt by former UVF allies, it has emerged.

A senior detective revealed that Haddock, who is fighting for his life in hospital, was not wearing body armour when he was shot six times.

Although paramilitary involvement is a line of inquiry, he would not name the UVF as the prime suspects.

Haddock (37) is the ex-Special Branch informer at the middle of a Police Ombudsman investigation into alleged security force collusion with the UVF in north Belfast's Mount Vernon estate.

It has now emerged he was ambushed and shot multiple times as he got out of his car near the Mossley Orange Hall at 3:50pm on Tuesday.

This has increased speculation he had been conned into meeting former UVF colleagues. One loyalist source said: "It looks like he came here for a meeting."

It is believed he staggered from the scene of the shooting near Mossley Mill in the Doagh Road area and made his way to a neighbour's house.

Detective Inspector Gareth Nicholl said Haddock was receiving treatment in the intensive care unit at the Royal Victoria Hospital and police have not yet been able to talk to him.

He said: "We believe the victim arrived in a black Peugeot 206 car, registration RCZ 1401, and parked on the verge. At about 3:50pm he was approached standing outside the vehicle and shot a number of times.

"We appeal to anyone who was in the area between 3 and 4pm and who saw the Peugeot or who saw an adult in or around that vehicle to contact us.

"We are also appealing to anyone who saw a silver car in close proximity or anyone passing by or near the Orange Hall."

DI Nicholl refused to speculate on UVF involvement: "We are keeping an open mind, we are not 100% sure."

He would not comment on why Haddock was in the area or if he was in breach of bail conditions.

Although the UVF are the main suspects in the assassination attempt, David Ervine, leader of the PUP and the organisation's chief political adviser, said he had been told by authoritative figures no authorisation was given.

He said: "Events will unfold that will make that clear. I believe it was opportunistic. This man clearly had a substantial number of enemies."

Haddock was currently on bail on a charge of attempting to murder doorman Trevor Gowdy at a social club in Monkstown.

The shooting has piled huge political pressure on the Ulster Unionist Party because it has aligned itself with the PUP.

Sir Reg Empey commented last night: "We have a political arrangement with one MLA (Mr Ervine) and that does, of course, have negative things with it."

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