UVF supergrass Haggarty diagnosed with terminal cancer
Paramilitary whistleblower Gary Haggarty is facing a death sentence.
The Sunday World can reveal the UVF supergrass is living on borrowed time after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.
The one-time Brigadier has recently been given the grim news that he has advanced bowel cancer and, despite undergoing intensive chemotherapy, we understand he has been told he may only have months to live.
He has been found to be in the advanced stages of the killer disease after suffering unexplained weight loss in recent months.
Sources have told us he had complained of extreme fatigue, only to be handed the devastating news after a medical examination in recent weeks.
He was immediately put on an intensive course of chemotherapy but doctors have warned him he is in the last chance saloon.
His condition diminishes the prospect of the 44-year-old north Belfast thug standing trial for a catalogue of terrorist crimes during his time as a senior paramilitary chief in the notorious Mount Vernon unit.
The news will dismay victims’ families clinging to the hope Haggarty holds the key to a raft of unsolved murders carried out in the name of the UVF.
Prosecutors will be determined to press ahead with the trial whether or not their star witness is alive to take the stand.
It is understood Haggarty, who has been under police protection for the past five years after agreeing to turn supergrass, dropped the bombshell news about his condition as he tried to contact estranged family members.
Ostracised by his former paramilitary pals and close family, the once-feared terror chief – a trusted lieutenant of UVF leader John ‘Bunter’ Graham – looks set to die alone.
Loyalist sources have told us there is little sympathy for Haggarty’s plight.
“Does he expect sympathy?” one UVF veteran told us. “He’s a treacherous bastard and he put his own family through hell. Now he expects people to feel sorry for him.”
It is understood he has written to family members and pleaded with them to write back.
The cancer-stricken gangster is father to a son believed to be 18 or 19 years of age, but he has had little to do with him over the years but is now asking family members to intervene on his behalf and urge the young man to get in touch.
“What a bastard, he’s had nothing to do with that young fella all these years and then he just sends him a message out of the blue telling him he has cancer.
“His son has been trying to build his own life, without his dad – Haggarty should do the decent thing and just leave him alone.”
Haggarty was a central figure within Mount Vernon UVF throughout the 1990s – close to notorious commander Mark Haddock, pictured left – and he is believed to have been involved in a bewildering list of terrorist crimes.
In return for pleading guilty to more than 200 paramilitary offences he agreed to provide information to police lifting the lid on the UVF killing machine.
The Sunday World can reveal he secretly recorded UVF brigade meetings from 1991 to 2007 and is believed to have handed detectives hundreds of hours of recordings detailing UVF operations over a 16-year period.
There has been intense speculation that senior figures in the organisation have been heavily implicated and this week informed sources have told us every major player from Bunter Graham down can expect to be exposed by the former comrade.
Haggarty has been under protective custody since 2010 and is believed to be living under an assumed name at a secure address in England. Terror chiefs, hellbent on revenge, have attempted to track down their former comrade.
It is understood a close family member has had to be taken out of the country by security services after it became clear north Belfast brigadier Davy ‘Whitecap’ Miller intended to abduct him in an attempt to find where Haggarty is living.
The terror group is already aware of the name Haggarty is using in England where he is understood to be staying in British Army married quarters.
The UVF look set to be denied their revenge and it is likely that Haggarty will have the last laugh should it be ruled his statements are admissible after death.
His beyond-the-grave testimony could be the most explosive ever aired in a Belfast courtroom. No date has yet been set for his trial – his appearance will hinge on how rapidly his health deteriorates, but in a bitter irony he is set to escape answering for his own crimes.
In tandem with Haddock – currently serving an eight-year sentence for the attempted murder of fellow UVF man Terry Fairfield – Haggarty was up to his neck in a surge of sectarian murder throughout the 90s.
Both men were heavy drug users.
“He loved his cocaine, E-tabs and all that s**t,” a source told us, “it turned him into an animal, before all the drugs he was a genuinely nice guy, all the girls wanted to go out with him, he was a catch.
“Then the drugs came along and it really changed him.”
The pair used to snort lines of coke before going out on ‘jobs’ - sometimes murder, Haggarty told pals the drug made him “feel like God”.
The much-anticipated supergrass trial has been delayed on a number of occasion due to the sheer weight of material. The prosecution case runs to 12,000 pages with Haggarty facing 212 charges including:
l Five murders, 31 conspiracy to murder and six attempted murders.
Four kidnappings, six false imprisonment and five hijackings.
- Twelve possessing explosives with intent to endanger life and 47 counts of having a firearm with intent.
- Eighteen charges of wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
- Three counts of arson, conspiracy to defraud and concealing the proceeds of criminal conduct.
- Two charges each of directing terrorism and belonging to a proscribed organisation.
- Seven counts of possessing money or property for the purposes of terrorism.
In return for his testimony he is to receive a light prison tariff, but now the terminally ill mobster is facing a death sentence.