Sunday Life

Road smash link to death threat
Crime boss 'slaps contract' on coma victim's brother

By Ciaran McGuigan
12 September 2004

A loyalist crime godfather has put a bounty on the head of a former associate, who he fears will reveal his role in a horrific car smash.

One man remains in a coma in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, following the smash, a month ago.

The man's 14-year-old stepson was killed in the pile-up involving three vehicles, one towing a boat, in north Down.

A total of nine people were taken to hospital, including the man's fiancee.

The couple were due to marry two weeks ago.

The man currently lying in a coma is hiding a grim secret.

Just weeks earlier, he suffered a vicious beating at the hands of a well-known loyalist thug, who lives in the Craigavon area.

The man was knocked unconscious, and then beaten about the head with a lump of wood, after being involved in a dispute over a paramilitary flag.

The man's family believe the head injuries he suffered in the beating, may have been to blame for the road smash.

They also believe the injuries from the attack are part of the reason that the man remains on a ventilator in hospital.

Said the man's brother: "That was only the second time he was able to get behind the wheel of a car, since this thug gave him a beating.

"He was having dizzy spells, and we believe it was the beating that caused the accident, and the head injuries he suffered then are destroying his hopes of regaining consciousness.

"The doctors and nurses were asking if he had suffered any head injuries that had gone untreated, before the accident.

"I think they believe that it is those injuries that have made his condition so bad, but they are not letting on.

"And that drug-dealing thug knows it. He is running scared and is worried that we are going to tell people exactly what he has done.

"He has paid loyalist paramilitaries to kill me, in order to shut me up, but that will never work.

"He has paid people to kill me before, and they failed too."

The man who spoke to Sunday Life is currently in hiding, after fleeing his mid-Ulster home under a death threat from drug dealers.

Last week, cops tracked him to his bolt-hole ? it took them two days to find him ? to warn him that loyalists were planning to kill him.

He believes it is the mid-Ulster UVF that are planning to kill him, and that they have been offered cash by the man who beat his brother to a pulp.

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