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covid concerns Loyalist killer Garfield Beattie's appeal against sentence for threatening letter adjourned

Beattie was jailed last week for sending the letter which was signed 'East Tyrone UVF'

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Killer Garfield Beattie in his Co Armagh home

Killer Garfield Beattie in his Co Armagh home

Killer Garfield Beattie in his Co Armagh home

Glenanne Gang member Garfield Beattie’s appeal against a prison sentence has been adjourned after a judge refused to hear it in his absence.

He was jailed last week for sending a threatening letter signed ‘East Tyrone UVF’ to the daughter of a man he murdered in 1975.

Due to prison Covid restrictions, Beattie is currently going through 14 days isolation, therefore could not be transported to the video-link suite to join the court hearing.

Denis Mullen was murdered by the notorious gang in the presence of his four-year-old daughter Denise, who was covered in blood and heard gunmen fire 13 shots at her mother, as she fled across fields.

Although Beattie (64) of Moss Road, Portadown accepted sending the letter he denied any malicious intent but was convicted after a contest.

During the contested hearing at Dungannon Magistrates Court, Ms Mullan spoke of “legal and personal” issues with Beattie.

“The legal issue is I am trying to seize his assets, and the personal issue is he murdered my father,” she said.

Beattie contacted her and although anxious, she accepted his invitation to meet, during which he discussed his UVF involvement and being offered a gun.

He spoke of instructions to murder Ms Mullan’s parents and how a fourth person fired a gun into the air in the aftermath, indicating, “A job well done.”

Beattie refused to name him but tried to “broker a deal” to have the litigation dropped.

Sometime later Ms Mullan’s legal action was published in media and in September 2020 she received the letter signed, “East Tyrone UVF”.

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The letter Beattie sent to Denise

The letter Beattie sent to Denise

The letter Beattie sent to Denise

Beattie claimed this was to prevent “long-term effects on Northern Ireland and consequences on Ms Mullan’s health, her family but not on her life. She was starting a precedent. People in the paramilitary world were very worried. I was told if she wins this case, the Bloody Sunday Inquiry will fall into insignificance because it won’t cost millions, it would be trillions.”

He claimed the loyalist unit was infiltrated by a British Army agent and while covering for them in 1976, halted this telling the court: “Every catholic murdered in Armagh and Tyrone was by British Army weapons.”

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He acknowledged signing the letter East Tyrone UVF was wrong but insisted: “It wasn’t intimidation or harassment. She may have taken it up wrong.”

Beattie admitted telling Ms Mullan to withdraw the “ludicrous legal action” and in return he’d help her get compensation from the Ministry of Defence.

At sentencing a defence barrister contended Beattie is rehabilitated and suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Jailing Beattie for 15 months District Judge Michael Ranaghan told him, “The devastating, cowardly and murderous acts impacted on Ms Mullan and continue to do so. In effect you ruined her life. You compounded that by your vicious cowardly actions . I don’t believe there is one genuine drop of remorse in your body.”

An application for bail ahead of appeal was refused.

Beattie challenged this at High Court where defence counsel pointed out the District Judge refused bail on the basis the appeal would be heard the next working day.

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Garfield Beattie

Garfield Beattie

Garfield Beattie

However while the date since shifted. the defence contended, “In principle, there was little to suggest it was necessary or proportionate to refuse bail pending appeal.”

Mr Justice O’Hara ruled there was no reason to grant bail with the hearing so close.

The appeal was scheduled for hearing today at Omagh County Court however on learning Beattie remains in isolation, Judge Peter Irvine QC rejected a defence application to proceed in his absence.

Instead the hearing will be re-listed once Beattie has completed the precautionary quarantine period in custody.

The defence have indicated they may return to High Court in relation to bail.

The Sunday World recently revealed how Beattie’s home in Annaghmore, Co Tyrone, was raided by police searching for firearms and ammunition.

Nothing was found during the search, however Beattie still keeps a powerful bow in one of his outhouses at his home.

Speaking of the search, he told us: "It's all very confusing. Obviously, there were no guns of any kind in this house.

"But I was a member of the Lisburn Archery Club for many years and I kept my bows in the house.

"One was a crossbow - which I sold recently - and the other was a powerful hunting bow which I still have.

"I know I was convicted in court of writing that letter to Denise Mullen and I know that I made out it came from the UVF.

"But in truth, I've had nothing to do with the UVF since the day and hour I left the Maze Prison.

"And the only thing I can think of is that someone saw me with the crossbow when I was selling it last April, but of course, it was perfectly legal for me to have a crossbow and a compound hunting bow.”

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