May 24th, 2016
NewsNorthern Ireland

UDA goon Mo Courtney sweating over jail time

Northern IrelandBy Sunday World
Mo Courtney
Mo Courtney

Shankill UDA godfather Mo Courtney is no stranger to life behind bars.

Sources close to him say he can’t handle ‘doing bird’ – being cooped up in jail. 

But he could be heading back to prison this week. 

On Friday, he’s due to be sentenced for threatening to kill high-profile terrorist victims’ campaigner Raymond McCord. 

And legal sources in Belfast said yesterday cowardly Courtney, who was also recently convicted of being a woman beater, when he assaulted courageous Tracey Coulter from the lower Shankill, could be facing another lengthy spell in either the Maghaberry or Magilligan jails in Northern Ireland. 

Yesterday, he was said by our sources to be throwing a ‘farewell’ party with his paraMafia cronies on the Shankill. 

“He’s having a ball. It’s one of the last days he’s out on bail after being convicted of the McCord threat to kill,” said one.

“He fully expects he’s going back behind bars. And, given his previous record in prison, he’ll be climbing up the walls – rather than bouncing off them yesterday at his ‘farewell’ do.”

Fifty-year-old Courtney’s latest conviction came on April 4 last when he appeared in Belfast Crown Court.

The UDA thug was once one of Johnny ‘Mad Dog’ Adair’s main henchmen, before he turned Judas on Johnny when Adair’s infamous UFF 2 Coy from the lower Shankill was banished from Belfast,. 

He denied threatening to kill Raymond McCord as the victims’ champion got out of a car he was driving with Tracey Coulter as a passenger. 

The incident happened just weeks after Courtney was found guilty of head-butting Ms Coulter during a confrontation over drugs runners in her area. 

Raymond McCord told the court he got out of the car, and accused Courtney of being a woman beater, and asked Courtney if he would hit him, rather than hitting a woman. 

According to Mr McCord’s account, Courtney replied that he would kill him. 

Raymond McCord said in court: “He was shouting ‘Come on up the Road (the Shankill).” 

“He went into a big rant, yelling.”

In his evidence, Courtney denied that he had seen either Mr McCord or Tracey Coulter on the day in question. 

He described the claim that he had threatened to kill Raymond McCord as ‘absolute rubbish’. 

But District Judge Fiona Bagnall decided differently.

She said of Courtney’s denial in the dock: “I’m satisfied beyond reasonable doubt with regard to the incident (on December 9 last) and convict with regards to the threat to kill.”

That’s the conviction on which Courtney will be sentenced this coming Friday. 

Yesterday, death threat victim Raymond McCord, whose son, Raymond Jnr was murdered by the UVF, declined to comment on what the sentence may be. 

All he would say was: “I hope that justice is done, and seen to be done, again in the case of Courtney.”

Courtney has already served two spells in jail for paramilitary crimes. 

In 1991, he was sentenced to seven years for his role in a UDA armed robbery. 

He was also jailed for eight years after admitting the manslaughter of Alan ‘Bucky’ McCullough, shot dead by and buried in a shallow grave in May 2003. 

The 21-year-old execution victim had been lured back to the Shankill from England, where he had been living in exile with ‘Mad Dog’ Adair’s mob. 

Mo Courtney, who has talked openly about his UDA involvement in the past, was named in the Stevens Inquiry probe into the UDA murder of Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane. 

But he was never charged in connection with the killing of the high-profile solicitor.