Fat Bunt: Loyalist John Bunting piles on the pounds
This is alleged loyalist hitman John ‘Roly Poly’ Bunting sunning it up on a lads’ sun-splashed bash in Benidorm.
Fat boy Bunting is awaiting trial for attempted murder.
He was initially banged up behind bars, but was later granted bail.
And then he was allowed to change his bail conditions so he could go on tour to his favourite Spanish holiday hotspot.
But by the looks of him the leading loyalist has spent more time scoffing on paella than soaking up the rays.
The one-time close pal of UDA Brigadier Jackie McDonald has exploded in weight and has been nicknamed ‘Billy Bunter’ Bunting.
Gut-buster Bunting’s Real Madrid shirt is bursting at the seams as he poses with a posse of loyalist pals on Avenida del Mediterraneo.
“That’s where all the cake shops are,” said one loyalist source.
“I didn’t know you could get an extra, extra, extra, extra large Real Madrid shirt!”
And the Sunday World can reveal that the loyalist lads’ trip is well funded. An estimated £7,000 – money intended for a memorial in north Belfast – was taken by one of Bunting’s holiday pals.
“It’s unbelievable that he can get permission to go on holiday in the first place, but there’s a lot of anger that money has been filched from cash intended to honour the UDA dead.”
‘Bunter’ Bunting was all smiles as he hammed it up for the camera, despite the fact he stands accused of the attempted murder of leading UDA figure John ‘Bonzer’ Boreland and one time north Belfast brigadier Andre Shoukri.
The larger-than-life leading loyalist has ballooned in weight in recent times. He’s at least twice the man, in size, he was four years when he was pictured alongside mentor McDonald outside Belfast City Hall at the height of the flag protests, but it is estimated he now tips the scales at more than 22 stone.
John Bunting during leaner times
He’s living proof that prison meals have improved. He and two alleged accomplices had been behind bars since last August, accused of the attempted murder of Boreland and Shoukri.
The convicted criminal pair were allegedly targeted as they got out of a car in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast.
A gunman allegedly got down on one knee to open fire from as little as six feet away.
Forty-seven-year old Bunting, who described himself as a community worker, of Stonebridge Avenue in Conlig, was arrested along with John Howcroft, 46, of Formby Park, and Darren McAllister, 31, of Alliance Road – both in Belfast.
All three are also charged with possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.
Boreland and Shoukri allegedly came under gun attack as they drove through Carr’s Glen Park in the Ballysillan area.
Shots were allegedly fired after they got out of their car to confront of a group of men who had thrown an object at the vehicle. It is alleged Fat Boy Bunting gave the order “get the pieces” before his two co-accused produced handguns.
According to Shoukri’s account to police Bunting then instructed: “Right, do them.”
At that point Howcroft allegedly got down on one knee and fired two shoots at the pair before they started to flee. Bunting denies involvement in any shooting incident, claiming the allegations have been made up.
He was refused bail a number of times before he was granted permission to head for the sun.
The mainstream UDA has since lost control of the organisation in the north of the city with a so-called rebel faction led by prominent flags protester and another leading loyalist, ‘Big Bill’ Hill, taking over with both former ‘Bookie’s Brigadier’ Shoukri and ‘Bonzer’ Boreland still lurking in the background.