17.10.04

Sunday Life

Cheers for murder bid accused condemned

By Ciaran McGuigan
17 October 2004

THE dad of a UVF murder-victim last night slammed loyalist thugs, who turned up in court to cheer on three men sent for trial for the attempted murder of a Protestant doorman.

The public gallery of Belfast Magistrate's Court was filled with supporters of alleged UVF godfather, Mark Haddock, when he appeared for a preliminary inquiry hearing.

There were similar scenes last year, when Haddock, the alleged CO of the UVF in Mount Vernon, first appeared in court charged with the attempted murder of Trevor Gowdy, in December, 2002.

Both hearings took place amid heavy security, at Laganside Courthouse.

Raymond McCord, whose son Raymond, jnr was battered to death by the UVF on Remembrance Day, 1997, described the scenes as "disgusting".

"How can these people cheer someone who has been charged with the attempted murder of a young Protestant? What do these people see to cheer in what happened to Trevor Gowdy?

"If there had been republicans charged with a similar crime, and they had supporters taking over a court and behaving like that, there would be unionist politicians up in arms over it.

"But we hear nothing about this sickening and disgusting behaviour.

"It was as if these people were taking some kind of joy out of a man being beaten almost to death."

David Hugh Miller (32), from York Park, in north Belfast, Mark Haddock (35), and Darren Moore (34), both from Mount Vernon Park, were all sent for trial at the hearing, last week.

Each is accused of attempted murder, false imprisonment and criminal damage.

The charges relate to an attack on Mr Gowdy, at Monkstown, in December, 2001, when the doorman was set upon by a gang and beaten with hatchets.

Mr Gowdy survived the vicious attack and is now set to give evidence against the accused.

Both he and his partner have been in a witness protection programme, since Mr Gowdy gave statements to cops about the attack.

cmcguigan @belfast telegraph.co.uk

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