Spence calls for disbandment of UVF
Spence calls for disbandment of UVF

The man behind the emergence of the unionist paramilitary UVF in the 1960s has called for the organisation to stand down.

Gusty Spence, a former prisoner and the man who delivered the loyalist ceasefire statement in 1994 said:

“The UVF should stand down now. There is no reason for them to exist.”

The UVF death squads, which normally worked in collusion with British forces, had claimed they had committed to a process of “civilianisation” and announced they had decommissioned their weapons.

However, the UVF was accused of the murder of a west Belfast opponent in May, as well as orchestrating riots in north Belfast at the end of October.

Ongoing punishment attacks and criminal activity have also continued unabated.

Chris Hudson, who previously acted as a go-between for the Irish government and the UVF, told the BBC there was a “loose end that, if it is not tidied up, may cause us great heartache in the near future”.

Brian Ervine, the new leader of the PUP political party which represents the UVF, said that a senior north Belfast loyalist’s apparent decision to become a “supergrass” could harden the position.

Reports have suggested that at least two other potential supergrass-type witnesses are set to give evidence against the UVF warlords.

Riots in the Rathcoole estate last month are believed to be linked to the HET’s investigations of the supergrass evidence.

Meanwhile, a savage beating in north Belfast which killed a radio DJ in 2004 was sanctioned by senior members of the rival loyalist UDA, an inquest was told on Friday.

Stephen Nelson was kicked repeatedly and battered with a bin and ashtray as he lay helpless in the foyer of a nightclub in September 2004. He died six months later in a vegetative state in hospital.

A gang of up to 10 heavily-built men set upon the victim, Stephen Nelson, after he threw somebody with connections to the UDA out of the Chimney Corner Hotel for alleged drugs dealing.

Belfast coroner Brian Sherrard said: “It seems to me that it can only be described as something which is animalistic.”

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