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Former footballer turned loyalist paramilitary attacked with hammers

Leading loyalist Darren Moore who was beaten with hammers and baseball bats in a paramilitary style assault.

FORMER leading Mount Vernon loyalist Darren Moore is being treated in hospital for serious injuries after being attack in a Co Antrim bar by a gang armed with hammers.

Moore had been living close to Doagh since he fled New Mossley three years ago under threat from former associates in the Mount Vernon UVF.

At around 6pm, on Wednesday a group of up to six men entered the McConnell's Bar in Doagh's Main Street and attacked the 47-year-old with hammers and baseballs bats.

The gang fled the bar to waiting getaway cars and sped off. Moore is being treated in hospital for serious but non-life threatening injuries.

Follow up searches resulted in the arrest of six men, aged between 24 and 38, who were last night still in custody.

The attack is not linked to the ongoing feud between rival factions of the UDA in Carrickfergus.

Moore was at one time one of the most prominent loyalists in north Belfast.

He has stood trial in separate attempted murder and murder cases, although has been acquitted each time.

In 2012 he gave an exclusive interview to The Irish News shortly after being acquitted of murder in the biggest supergrass trial in Northern Ireland's legal history.

Along with 11 other loyalists he was acquitted of the murder of UDA man Tommy English, when a judge dismissed evidence given by 'supergrass' brothers Robert and Ian Stewart.

Moore, claimed that shortly after he was arrested in 2009 he was offered a deal of a reduced sentence in return for information under the terms of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act.

He claimed detectives investigating the activities of the notorious Mount Vernon UVF offered him a "life of luxury" in the witness protection scheme if he agreed to testify against his former associates.

As well as being accused of involvement in the murder of Tommy English, Moore was linked to the attempted murder of Special Branch informer Mark Haddock.

He was also named in witness statements given by former UVF commander Gary Haggarty who has been in police custody since 2009.

Haggarty agreed to turn supergrass and has given10,000 pages of evidence to detectives.

Wednesday's attack is the second time he has been subjected to a paramilitary style assault.

In April 2013, Moore was attacked by the UVF after a fallout over territory.

His arms and legs were broken in the assault that took place in the grounds of a school and left him walking with a permanent limp.

A once promising footballer, he signed for north London team Millwall and played for the Crusaders side who lifted the Gibson Cup in 1995.

Described in court as a 'lieutenant' in the UVF, he was previously jailed for an attack on the Golden Hind Bar in Portadown Co Armagh after a clash with the rival LVF.

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