High Court hears claims relatives of a UVF supergrass witness have been intimidated

High Court hears claims relatives of a UVF supergrass witness have been intimidated

RELATIVES of a UVF supergrass witness have received a bullet in the post and car brakes severed, a court has heard.

The UVF witness is alleged to have fingered Mark Campbell over a 1994 double murder of two Catholics in north Belfast.

The High Court heard that a sympathy card containing a bullet was also sent to a brother of the witness.

It followed charges being brought against Mark Campbell over the killing of Catholic workmen Gary Convie and Eamon Fox in north Belfast.

Details were disclosed as Campbell applied for bail.

The 42-year-old, of Canning Place, Belfast, was arrested and charged with the murders earlier this month on the word of a UVF supergrass witness.

Mr Convie, 24, and Mr Fox, 44, were sitting in their car at a building site in North Queen Street on 17 May, 1994 when a gunman opened fire with a sub-machine gun.

Campbell  is further accused of attempting to murder their work colleague in the same incident, and possessing a Sten sub-machine gun and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

He denies the charges.

The court heard a lone gunman fired up to 15 shots into the victims’ Volkswagen Polo from the direction of a nearby children’s playground before fleeing the scene and shouting “up the UVF”.

One man previously convicted in connection with the murders has since died.

A prosecution barrister said Campbell was detained after “a significant witness” told police he was in the van that drove the gunman from the murder scene.

Opposing bail, the lawyer claimed there was a risk of interference with witnesses.

He said a brother of the new witness had received a sympathy card containing a 9 mm bullet in the post in January.

The package had been collected from a postal sorting office in Belfast because the correct postage was not paid.

According to the prosecution a message in the card read: “Happy New Year. Tell that brother of yours to keep his mouth shut. Sleep tight. No surrender.”

Three days later the witness’s partner got into her car and discovered the brake pedal went right to the floor, the court heard.

An investigation revealed a brake pipe had been severed, the prosecution lawyer said.

A defence counsel said Mr Campbell had nothing to do with any attempted intimidation.

The barrister claimed the new witness was likely to have given evidence against others.

“If he falls into the category of what is commonly known as a supergrass, he may well implicate many.”

“Plenty of people would have a reason for trying to intimidate those close to him.”

The barrister told the court the witness must have been involved in paramilitary activity.

He also claimed there would be little chance to carry out any interference.

“This witness is likely to be in protective custody, witnesses of this status typically are,” he said.

“If they are not in protective custody they enjoy some other form of cast-iron protection.”

The judge reserved his decision on the bail application to consider his decision.


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