Republican News · Thursday 15 June 2000

[An Phoblacht]

Loyalists attempted to kill Catholic businessman

A Catholic businessman at the centre of a UDA extortion trial has fled his North Belfast home after it was revealed loyalists tried to kill him.

Mel Lundy gave evidence that led to the conviction for extortion of UDA members Andre Shoukri from Westland Park, his brother Ihab Shoukri from Donegall Pass as well as Gary McKenzie from Joanmount Park and William Borland, a former Linfield and Cliftonville soccer player, from Sunningdale Gardens.

The loyalists were convicted on Thursday 1 June and sentenced to between three years and two and a half years in jail.

Within days of the convictions, the Lundy family were targeted as they drove to a DIY store in Glengormley, on the outskirts of North Belfast. The RUC informed the Lundys of the plan to kill Mel, and reported that an attack had been ``aborted'. Now they have fled the Six Counties, abandoning their home and the pizza business that was also targeted by the UDA. According to a Lundy family relative, the RUC, ``duped'' Mel Lundy into giving evidence against the gang, telling him they were not UDA.

``The family believed the RUC'', said the relative, who accused the RUC of telling lies.

It was revealed during the trial that Andre Shoukri made an approach to Lundy in his Cavehill Road pizza business in June 1999, demanding 3,000 protection money for the Ballysillan UDA. All four were later arrested after they were caught on surveillance cameras, installed by the RUC, again demanding money from Lundy.

It has also emerged in recent days that Andre Shoukri and McKenzie faced manslaughter and assault charges over the killing of tennis star Gareth Parker in 1996. Parker had been assaulted outside the Shaftsbury Inn in North Belfast, just hours after a loyalist Tour of the North parade. The RUC forced the parade through the Cliftonville Road after batoning peaceful protesters off the road.

Writing in An Phoblacht on 27 June 1996, Mick Naughton described how the loyalists boasted that they ``taught the Taigs a lesson'', and there had been ``a verbal altercation'', between the tennis star and a gag of loyalists. The loyalists attacked Parker and a friend outside the bar, leaving the tennis player lying on the road, where he was hit by a passing car.

Shoukri was acquitted of manslaughter, although he had admitted punching Parker to the ground minutes before the car struck him. McKenzie had admitted punching Parker's companion.

Manchester Special Branch targets Irish Student

A first year student at Salford University in Greater Manchester is the latest Irish person to report being approached to become an informer by the British security services.

In May, MI5 tried to coerce two Irish activists in London into becoming informers.

The student, who wishes to remain anonymous, was approached as he went for an exam on Thursday 1 June, within hours of a small bomb exploding on Hammersmith Bridge in London. Two men in their 30s tried to get him to ``go somewhere for a quiet chat'', giving the young man the impression that they had him under constant surveillance.

Although the pair refused to identify themselves, when the student asked if they were ``five'' (MI5), they replied that they were ``not that high up''.

The men offered the student money ``if he gave them some of his time'', and even though he refused, they gave him a phone number and the names Joe and Andy, urging him to contact them.

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