The 66-year-old former UVF man walked free from Maghaberry Prison last month.
His release came after he served a 15-month sentence for sending a sinister and threatening letter to Aontú Councillor Denise Mullen, the daughter of one of his victims. And now it’s emerged that the killer himself has received a threatening letter.
Denise’s ambulance controller dad, Denis (35) – an SDLP activist and a father of two – was machine-gunned to death by Beattie outside the family home at Collegelands near the Moy, Co Tyrone, on September 1 1976.
A former member of the Territorial Army, Beattie later pleaded guilty to murdering three innocent Catholics, including Mr Mullen. He served 16 years before being released on licence in March 1993.
From Moss Road, Annaghmore, near Portadown, Beattie once told theSunday World: “I was in jail with Lenny Murphy and other members of the Shankill Butchers. They were the best years of my life.”
But in an anonymous letter sent to Denise on September 28 2020 – which purported to come from the mid-Ulster UVF – Beattie advised her that if she failed to drop a legal action against him, her health would suffer.
When quizzed by police, Beattie admitted writing the letter, but insisted it wasn’t threatening. And when the case called in court, a judge tore strips off Beattie before sending him to jail for 15 moths.
Hours after his release last month, an agitated Beattie refused to speak with our reporters. He told them: “I can’t talk to you. If I do, I’ll get a bullet in the head.
And we can reveal that Beattie will be back in court next Thursday to fight an application by lawyers acting for Denise to have his release licence revoked.
And we have also learned that Beattie is now claiming he recently received a threatening letter.
A loyalist source told us Beattie is extremely concerned about the contents of the letter.
It is understood the anonymous communication lists a string of serious UVF crimes including murder. And it alleges Beattie had a hand in them all, but wasn’t interviewed by police.
And it is believed the mystery writer also warned Beattie not to speak to the press about any matters relating to his past UVF activities.
“Garfield is extremely concerned about this. He now accepts he did wrong by sending the letter to Denise Mullen.
“But after receiving a threatening letter himself, he knows how frightening it can be,” said our source.
Recent Sunday World investigations have revealed, however, that police are believed to be probing the possibility that handwriting contained in the letter received by Beattie has similar characteristics to a second letter sent to Denise Mullen.
The note, written on the outside of a plain white envelope, states: ‘I worked with the ambulance man your father. I am RC. He was an IRA man. We all knew it.’
Yesterday, Denise said she was unable to comment on the matter in case it prejudices next week’s court case. We also tried to contact Beattie several times, but he was unavailable.