ANALYSIS: Haggarty case makes for grim and disturbing reading

Gary Haggarty, pleaded guilty to 202 crimes including five murders.

It makes for grim reading, two days of summing up the murderous rampage of police informer Gary Haggarty, the names of his victims read out, the cold and callous way they were targeted and killed detailed.

Coins flipped to see which UVF man got to pull the trigger, details of drunken binges to celebrate kicking a man to death, victims' characters blackened to hide the indiscriminate sectarian nature of the attack.

Throughout Haggarty, sat inpassively in the dock. A defence barrister told the court the loyalist was sworn into the UVF in 1991, and became a Special Branch agent two years later.

Turned informer to save his own skin after being arrested for the murder of Sharon McKenna, shot dead by the UVF in January 1993 as she called on an elderly Protestant friend.

Over the last two days, Belfast Crown Court heard details of the 202 crimes Haggary has pleaded guilty to, a further 300 offences were taken into consideration.

Among the offences five murders, victims' families heard graphic details while knowing those responsible are unlikely to ever be brought to justice. Haggarty, destined to leave behind his bloody past for a new future in witness protection.

His evidence not only reveals the actions of the informer ridden Mount Vernon UVF but more damning and disturbing the actions of the Special Branch handlers who were facilitating the gang.

Haggarty claims he told his RUC handlers of the plot to murder Raymond McCord in 1997 and that of Catholic taxi driver Gerard Brady in 1994.

Needless deaths, pointless misery and allegations of the most serious kind against police officers who have escaped prosecution.

Grim reading indeed.

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