Leading loyalist cleared of attempted murder

Leading north Belfast loyalist Mark Haddock has today been cleared of the attempted murder of a nightclub doorman in December 2002.

However, the former UVF commander originally from the Mount Vernon area of north Belfast, was found guilty of grievous bodily harm with intent for his part in a hatchet and hammer attack on Trevor Gowdy outside a social club in Monkstown, County Antrim.

Haddock, 37, who is at the centre of a major Police Ombudsman inquiry into collusion between loyalist murderers and rogue Special Branch officers, was also convicted of false imprisonment and setting fire to the victim's car.

Haddock, who was said to be too ill to attend the court after surviving an attempt on his life, in May this year when he was shot six times, appeared via video-link from Maghaberry Prison, near Lisburn where he is currently on remand.

Speaking during the hearing, case Judge, Mr Justice Weatherup said: "I am satisfied that Haddock was present with and was in command of the other three persons attacking in concert and together they subjected Gowdy to a severe beating, that Haddock struck Gowdy with an implement, that the four men left the scene and that Gowdy`s car was removed from the scene and destroyed."

Trevor Gowdy was found lying unconscious on the road outside the social club in Monkstown by police in December 2002.

He had been beaten on the head and body by an iron bar, a hatchet and a bat.

During the attack, the victim suffered an "open" fractured skull, broken leg as well as numerous cuts and bruises.

Since leaving hospital he has remained under the witness protection programme.


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18 January 2006
Attempted murder case postponed until May
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22 November 2006
Attempted murder charge in Haddock case is dropped
The man accused of the attempted murder of former UVF leader Mark Haddock has today walked free from a Belfast court after the charges against him were dropped.