Ombudsman asked to investigate police role in UVF attacks

A Belfast man who survived two murder bids has accused Special Branch of protecting his would-be killers.

John Flynn has spoken out over the attempts on his life after learning that the unionist paramilitaries who tried to kill him are police informers.

The Police Ombudsman will now be asked to investigate the connection of the PSNI police Special Branch to the murder bids.

The paramilitaries who tried to kill Mr Flynn were involved in a dozen murders in north Belfast between 1990 and 2001.

On each occasion, their Special Branch handler covered up their involvement.

The first UVF attempt on John Flynn’s life occurred in 1990 outside Whiteabbey Hospital in Newtownabbey, County Antrim.

He had just arrived at the hospital in his car to pick up a friend when a hooded man tried to shoot him.

The weapon jammed and Mr Flynn attacked the gunman, throwing him against and smashing a hospital window, before wrestling the .44 Magnum pistol from the gunman’s grasp.

Mr Flynn tried to shoot his attacker in the back as the man fled to a waiting car but the gun jammed a second time.

Mr Flynn has told reporters he was convinced at an early stage it had not been investigated properly. He said he believed that Special Branch had covered up the attempted murder to avoid compromising the identity of its informer within the UVF.

Mr Flynn said: “The police took away the gun and a top that I was wearing, which was covered in blood.

“I was told at the time that there was blood on the top that wasn’t mine. I took this to mean that it belonged to the man who tried to murder me.

“But no one was ever arrested for the attempt on my life. I have no doubt, if the blood on my top had been forensically tested, it would have confirmed the identity of the man who tried to kill me.”

The identity of the Special Branch informer who tried to murder Mr Flynn is believed to be the same man who ordered the murder of Raymond McCord Jr from his jail cell.

A few months after the hospital incident, the UVF put a booby-trap bomb under Mr Flynn’s car outside his home in Belfast’s Bawnmore estate.

Local teenagers noticed the device and contacted Mr Flynn, who alerted the RUC. The following day, he received a sympathy card in the post from the UVF. It read: “Third time lucky”.

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