MAJOR COLLUSION | 

Revealed: How ex British major who leaked to UDA leading to murder rose through army ranks

His treachery resulted in the death of an innocent Catholic dad on May 10, 1988.

Ex Major Cameron Hastie pictured with Mike Tindall, the former England world cup winner who is married Zara Phillips, the granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth

Cameron Hastie was convicted of providing British Army intelligence documents, which included photographs, vehicle registration of known republicans to the UVF.

Cameron Hastie

Terry McDaid

Hugh JordanSunday World

The broad smile on the face of the soldier standing next to former English International Rugby star Mike Tyndall hides a dark secret.

Because we can reveal Princess Anne’s son-in-law was unaware that rugby-playing Major Cameron Hastie once was involved in a loyalist spy ring in Belfast.

Under the noses of his British Army bosses, Hastie and his Ulster Defence Regiment accomplice colluded in passing on information to Protestant paramilitary killers.

Evidence uncovered by the Sunday World this week shows that Hastie handed his Greenfinch friend Joanne Garvin (21) a sealed envelope and told her to give it to a taxi driver who was connected to loyalist paramilitaries.

Hastie was a 22-year-old corporal in the 1st Battalion Royal Scots Regiment when he betrayed his oath to the Queen.

And his treachery resulted in the death of an innocent Catholic dad on May 10, 1988.

Terry McDaid – a 30-year-old father of two – was watching TV with his wife and parents when a loyalist hit squad burst in to their north Belfast home.

Led by the recently deceased loyalist Sam ‘Skelly’ McCrory, the two-man assassination squad from the UFF’s notorious ‘C’ Coy shot him repeatedly and he died at the scene.

Cameron Hastie was convicted of providing British Army intelligence documents, which included photographs, vehicle registration of known republicans to the UVF.

But within hours of the McDaid killing, a drama unfolded in the NAFFI canteen at Girdwood Barracks in north Belfast which led to the arrest of Corporal Hastie.

And soon the tangled web of collusion between the security services and loyalist paramilitaries unravelled.

As soldiers discussed the McDaid murder, part-time UDR Greenfinch Joanne Garvin was heard to say: “Oh, they got the wrong man.”

Garvin was immediately secretly placed under surveillance. And days later she was arrested along with Edinburgh-born Corporal Hastie.

Garvin, from the nearby Joanmount area, was standing to attention on the parade ground when an RUC detective approached her saying: “I’m arresting you under the Terrorism Act.”

Corporal Hastie was also scooped under the same legislation and both were transferred to Castlereagh Holding Centre at Ladas Drive in east Belfast for questioning.

At first, Hastie played down his role in the enterprise, claiming he had merely given Garvin a montage of photographs of IRA suspects found in his locker.

He maintained it had been left by a unnamed soldier from another regiment previously based in Girdwood.

But in legal depositions seen by the Sunday World this week, Hastie later told detectives that Garvin had asked him for photographs and car registration numbers of IRA suspects.

Garvin wanted the information, Hastie claimed, because her brother had been followed home by strangers and he was worried.

But the claim was nonsense. It emerged Garvin didn’t have a brother. And it was obvious Corporal Hastie was lying.

Garvin initially lied as well. But as the police interview intensified, she became more forthcoming.

Riddled with guilt because her father had enjoyed an exemplary military career during World War II, the Greenfinch made a clean breast of it.

She eventually told detectives that her friend had been in a romantic relationship with Corporal Hastie.

And she admitted personally signing-in a number of female civilian friends who regularly attended army discos inside Girdwood Barracks.

It also emerged that a taxi firm used by Garvin to take her to and from Girdwood was owned by a prominent UVF man, although several of his drivers were in the UDA.

Terry McDaid

A number of them, Garvin claimed, put pressure on her to glean security information on IRA suspects from security force files inside Girdwood Barracks.

And as she was personally friendly with Cameron Hastie, she asked him for assistance and he agreed.

Garvin finally admitted that she knew that by handing over the information, it would likely result in the “shooting of the Catholics”.

And realising the seriousness of his position, Corporal Hastie too decided to come clean. During an interview with RUC detectives, Hastie’s eyes welled up and soon tears were cascading down his cheeks.

The rugby-playing hard man was trembling as he told detectives he handed over photographs and other intelligence to Greenfinch Garvin.

“I realised they were probably going to end up outside the camp... in the back of my mind... I thought this meant they’d end up with Protestant paramilitaries,” he said.

Under questioning, Garvin alleged Hastie told her: “Maybe in Germany, I’ll hear about some of them being rubbed out.”

Details relating to the now deceased republican prisoner Terence ‘Cleeky’ Clarke were also among security files stolen by Hastie.

Corporal Hastie and Greenfinch Garvin were told they would both be facing collusion charges.

But much of what they had admitted in interview was removed. And consequently they appeared in court on greatly reduced charges.

They were jointly charged with supplying information belonging to the Army which was likely to have been of use to terrorists.

And when they appeared before the Crown Court in Belfast a year later, both pleaded guilty and were given 18-month suspended sentences.

As a result of their guilty pleas, many details of Hastie and Garvin’s treachery wasn’t heard in open court.

But papers seen by the Sunday World revealed that Garvin became deeply embittered after the IRA murdered one of her UDR colleagues.

And when she was approached by a man working as a taxi driver, she agreed to help loyalist terrorists.

But distancing himself from the brutal killing, Hastie alleged that before handing over the McDaid documentation to Garvin, he told her: “Check the addresses.”

And in her fourth statement of admission, Garvin told detectives: “I know they (the loyalists) were going to set them (IRA suspects) up. I don’t know why I handed them over.

“It was only after I’d done it I got worried because I broke the Official Secrets Act and that’s been worrying me even more,” she said.

The trial judge, Mr Justice Petrie, said there were mitigating factors in the case which went a long way towards Garvin and Hastie receiving lenient sentences.

Cameron Hastie

“Garvin had been lent on and Hastie has an excellent army record,” the judge said.

But his judgment and other details concerning the case weren’t reported in the press at the time.

And while Garvin was booted out of the UDR, Corporal Hastie’s military career went from strength to strength.

Having joined the Royal Scots as a 16-year-old boy soldier, he continued to shoot up the ranks and was made an officer. He retired from the Army with the rank of Major.

In 2016, Major Hastie played and skippered the Army Masters Rugby Team and he became Team Manager for the Senior XV Army Rugby Squad.

And the following year, he received a prestigious civic award in his native Edinburgh. Major Hastie and his wife Sonia were guests of honour at a Civic Reception when the title of Edinburgh Exiles Standard Bearer was bestowed on him by the city’s Lord Provost.

A flag specially embroidered for the occasion listed 10 countries including Northern Ireland where Hastie had served during his glittering military career.

Lord Provost Wilson heaped praise on the soldier. But there was no mention of his criminal conviction for collusion in Belfast.

Also in 2017, Hastie and other members of his British Army Rugby XV wore full dress uniform to commemorate the fallen from World War II at a special ceremony in St George, Bermuda.

Father-of-two Hastie, now 56, lives in the south of England and is currently Director of Rugby with his local club.

The Sunday World tried repeatedly to contact Hasties but with no success.

In a recent interview with the Sunday World, ‘Skelly’ McCrory claimed Mr McDaid shouted: “It’s the Orangemen,” as the two loyalists smashed their way inside.

Mr McDaid’s mother was wounded in the leg when McCrory and his mate sprayed the living room of his Newington Street home with bullets. But her son was brutally shot at least six times.

The sheer savagery was captured in the words of Mr McDaid’s widow Maura, when she told a newspaper: “There was this horrendous thundering noise. It was terrible.

“Terry and I just sat and stared at one another. The living room door flew back to the wall. Two men were standing at the door. They were completely clothed; there was no flesh to be seen.

“They ran in and just started firing. It was totally deafening,” she said.

But the UDA gunmen missed their real target.

It was Terry McDaid’s brother who lived nearby they wanted. He had served a sentence in the Maze Prison at the time of the IRA hunger strikes in 1981. Terry had no republican connections.

And later, according to sources, when challenged by UDA Brigadier Tommy ‘Tucker’ Lyttle that his men had killed an innocent man, UFF godfather William ‘Winkie’ Dodds barked back: “He looked like the picture! What did you want them to do, ask him his name?”

In a completely separate incident, a Catholic was also seriously wounded in a botched murder bid as a result of other information supplied to loyalists by Corporal Hastie.

Information passed to loyalists by the same spy ring was also used to target Patrick Fitzpatrick, who lost an eye when the notorious UFF gunman Joe Bratty shot him outside a south Belfast supermarket two months later. Bratty was shot dead by the IRA shortly before the IRA ceasefire in 1994.


Today's Headlines

More Northern Ireland

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices