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UDA rebel Bill Hill back in hiding after caravan torched

NewsBy Richard Sullivan
Bill Hill
Bill Hill

UDA rebel Bill Hill is in hiding – again – after his seaside caravan was torched.

The balding terror boss has been keeping his head down after he was forced to flee north Belfast after a week-long feud with the Mount Vernon UVF.

It is thought the bungling terror boss took refuge in his Millisle caravan in the immediate wake of the trouble in north Belfast at the start of August, before heading to his Benidorm bolt-hole.

In recent weeks he is thought to have been sneaking in and out of Belfast from Scotland.

Sources have told us his wife was staying in their Millisle caravan last month and had just left to return to her Belfast home when the van was firebombed.

It is thought it has been virtually destroyed.

It is not thought to have been an attempt on her life and the attackers lay in wait until the caravan was empty before they struck.

The incident is being seen as a warning to Hill that he’s not in the clear following the summer stand-off with the UVF.

He remains at risk of retaliation after members of north Belfast’s UDA attacked the son of a senior Mount Vernon UVF figure.

The victim, whose father was murdered during the loyalist feud in 2000, suffered injuries to his face after being struck with a samurai sword.

His father was 26 when two men forced their way into his home on the Rathcoole estate and shot him four times in the head. His girlfriend, who was with him at the time of the attack, was unhurt although she had to be treated for shock.

An active paramiltary since he was a teenager he is believed to have been part of a 12-man gang who firebombed the Golden Hind bar in Portadown in 1997.

Last month’s attack sparked a furious reaction from Mount Vernon UVF who retaliated by attacking one of Hill’s men and ransacking a shop owned by a loyalist.

They followed it up with a show of strength. Upwards of 20 formed up on the Shore Road outside the Crusaders Club before marching to Shore Crescent.

It is understood UVF members from New Mossley and Rathcoole came to support the Mount Vernon UVF in the show of strength.

Loyalist sources have told us Hill’s fate was sealed the minute his men launched their assault.

Hill, a prominent figure during the union flag dispute, made a grovelling journey to west Belfast where he begged for protection.

In a face-to-face meeting with west Belfast commander chief Jim Spence (inset above) he pleaded for sanctuary.

It was a desperate attempt to save his skin and his last chance. West Belfast had backed Hill when he took control of north Belfast but sparking a needless feud with the UVF was a step too far.

Hill took control of north Belfast following the arrest in 2014 of predecessor John Bunting and close associate John Howcroft. The pair were charged in connection with a gun attack on deposed UDA chief Andre Shoukri and John Boreland.

The charges were later withdrawn but with Hill in charge the rebel UDA mounted a purge of Tigers Bay forcing mainstream supporters out of their homes.