Irish Republican News · March 14, 2015
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Collusion with Mount Vernon UVF admitted
Collusion with Mount Vernon UVF admitted

johnflynn.jpg

The British Crown forces in the north of Ireland have for the first time admitted collusion with a notorious loyalist killer in the unionist paramilitary UVF.

In an unprecedented move, the PSNI police has accepted officers “were guilty of misfeasance in public office” in the case of a bid to murder north Belfast Catholic John Flynn (pictured).

It is believed to be the first time that such an admission has been made in a collusion case.

Mr Flynn’s lawyer Kevin Winters said the term ‘misfeasance’, used to describe the misuse or abuse of power while in office, is significant.

“This is an admission of collusion, he was an agent and he has been involved in attempted murder bids. It’s the first time I have come across it. I have never seen an admission like this before,” Mr Winters said.

The concession came after Mr Flynn went to the courts to demand that the PSNI hand over key documents as part of a legal case against the force. The 55-year-old taxi driver was lured to Whiteabbey Hospital on the outskirts of north Belfast in his taxi, where he was targeted for a sectarian murder by police agent Mark Haddock.

At the time taxi drivers were being singled out for attack because their religion could be identified by the taxi firm they were working for.

Mr Flynn survived only because the killer’s murder weapon temporarily jammed. He sais he and Haddock, who wasn’t masked, grappled over the gun, and that Haddock fired a shot which went through his fingers.

The PSNI have referred to the loyalist attacked as “Informer 1”. A second attempt on Mr Flynn’s life in May 1997, when a bomb was found under his car, was carried out by the same agent or someone acting on his behalf.

Haddock led a vicious UVF unit which operated out of the Mount Vernon district of north Belfast.

The gang, several of whom were RUC Special Branch agents, is believed to have been involved in multiple murders in the latter stage of the conflict.

SECRECY CONTINUES

Despite their admission, the PSNI continues to refuse to hand over key papers relating to the case.

Mr Flynn’s lawyers say that since 2012 police have ignored two court orders to hand over the files.

He says there “no question” that his attacker was Mark Haddock and that he was neither disguised nor wearing gloves. Despite this he says police later told him the only fingerprints they found on the gun which Haddock had left behind were his own.

He believes the second attempt on his life by Haddock’s gang was “personal” because he had embarrassed the killer five years earlier. In the weeks after the attack he says he was sent a Mass card by the UVF which had the message “third time lucky”.

Mr Flynn said his continuing fight for justice has taken its toll.

“It has been very difficult for the past 10 or 15 years,” he said. “It has been very stressful having to come to terms with two murder bids. The stress is increased that the police force was involved in these activities that put my life at risk.”

He said the PSNI’s refusal to hand over papers connected to his case has added more stress.

Mr Winters believes the documents held by the PSNI will confirm the involvement of police agents in the murder attempts on Mr Flynn.

“That being so you will have a position of having a police force supposedly in place to deal with the protection of citizens in a process where they were encouraging the taking of life,” he said.

“That is an extraordinary state of affairs.

“We don’t see any valid legal reasons why they should be held back, especially when the state is now admitting it in its defence.”

Haddock wasn’t the only senior UVF figure in north Belfast to have worked for the police.

Former Special Branch agent and UVF Mount Vernon commander Gary Haggarty turned supergrass five years ago and has made serious allegations against his former RUC handlers. Concerns have been raised about the length of time it has taken to bring the case to court.

This week, Haggarty’s counsel requested that a number of charges against him be dropped on the basis that their client was acting as a state agent under direct orders from Special Branch.

© 2015 Irish Republican News