Super-pimp ‘Mucky’ Marty Heaney was chief suspect in unsolved sex attack case

The woman victim was attacked by a taxi driver who had picked her up in his car and brought her home
Martin Heaney

Martin Heaney

Our man Hugh Jordan confronts ‘Mucky Marty’ a decade ago

Our man Hugh Jordan confronts ‘Mucky Marty’ a decade ago

Heaney working as a Belfast tour bus guide

Heaney working as a Belfast tour bus guide

Sunday World

Super-pimp ‘Mucky’ Marty Heaney was once a suspect in an as-yet unsolved sex attack case, the Sunday World can reveal.

And Heaney, who was first exposed in this newspaper nearly 15 years ago, could well find himself before the courts yet again if a re-examination of the case turns up a DNA trace.

The woman victim was attacked by a taxi driver who had picked her up in his car and brought her home. She was able to give officers a full description of him.

At the time of the attack, Heaney worked as an illegal taxi driver in west Belfast.

During that period the IRA imposed its own version of law and order in areas under its control.

And the likely outcome for an individual accused of sexual offences was a so-called ‘six pack’ shooting, unless of course they had republican connections.

Earlier this week, Judge Patrick Lynch sent 60-year-old Heaney to prison for five years, although it is understood he was freed within hours as a result of time served on remand.

Initially charged with 62 offences, Heaney eventually pleaded guilty to 28 charges spanning a period of eight years.

His rap sheet included 10 counts of controlling prostitution, 10 counts of human trafficking and seven counts of voyeurism.

But investigating detectives knew Heaney only pleaded guilty to a fraction of his crimes.

Our man Hugh Jordan confronts ‘Mucky Marty’ a decade ago

Our man Hugh Jordan confronts ‘Mucky Marty’ a decade ago

Last Wednesday, Mr Justice Lynch told Craigavon Crown Court sitting in Belfast: “The defendant was using women, many of whom were extremely vulnerable either through their young age, mental health difficulties, drugs misuse or general deprivation.”

But taxi attack allegations predate those offences.

As the finger of suspicion swung in Heaney’s direction, he did a disappearing act. He was well aware the IRA sometimes executed alleged sex offenders.

Heaney quit the marital home and rented a house in the Carryduff area of south Belfast.

The village had become a refuge for families wishing to escape the sectarian ghettos of Belfast.

But it also home to a new breed of wealthy drug dealers and others like Heaney who wished to stay out of the public eye.

He secured a job as a self-employed taxi driver with a company based in south Belfast. Other drivers thought it odd that he regularly declined fares to west Belfast.

Heaney quickly blended in with the more cosmopolitan and cross-community atmosphere where there was no IRA presence.

But when the taxi firm’s owners received complaints from female passengers, he was dismissed.

And when an artist’s impression of a taxi driver suspected of a vicious attack in west Belfast was flashed up on TV, alarm bells began to ring among his former work colleagues.

The police sketch bore a startling resemblance to Heaney. And two taxi drivers who had worked alongside Heaney were convinced it was him.

Independently they contacted the Crimestoppers helpline, where they passed Heaney’s name and details to the police.

It isn’t known whether Heaney was ever questioned about the crime But this week, we tracked down one of drivers who had passed Heaney’s name to the police.

He told us: “As soon as I saw the artist’s impression on TV, I was convinced it was Marty Heaney. I told the police and later that day, my work colleague did the same.”

He added: “I’m not sure if reliable DNA testing was available at the time, but nothing has happened to make me change my mind about the sketch.”

Heaney working as a Belfast tour bus guide

Heaney working as a Belfast tour bus guide

Since he was first exposed in the Sunday World 14 years ago, ‘Mucky Marty’ – as we dubbed him – has appeared in this newspaper a total of 28 times.

Heaney had an ability to pass himself off as a ‘nice guy’, who was always willing to help anyone in need.

We first confronted Heaney as he helped elderly passengers from a city tour bus in Belfast.

At the time Heaney pleaded with us not to put his photograph in the paper: “Please don’t put my picture in the paper. My dad is an old man and it will kill him.”

But in reality, Heaney was a ruthless, manipulative liar with an insatiable appetite for perverted sex. He exploited vulnerable young women who turned to him for help.

And he was determined to make money out of his sick obsession.

It emerged in court this week that he instructed one of his victims to continue working as a prostitute when she was pregnant.

Heaney placed adverts online encouraging women who were interested in working as cleaners, strippers or dancers to get in touch.

As business boomed, he even set up his own strip-o-gram service. And trading under the name Angels 2 Devils, Heaney promoted two women using the fake stage names ‘Misty’ and ‘Miss Spanky’.

It was after Heaney was caught in a second Sunday World sting operation that police in Belfast moved against him.

In 2013, Heaney was found guilty at Craigavon Crown Court of kidnapping and holding two teenage girls captive in his locked car, while he performed a sex act in front of them.

As a result of the trauma, the youngsters tried to take their own lives.

A judge ordered Heaney to embark on a probation course for three years and he banned him from working with children for three years.

But as he sentenced Heaney to five years this week, Judge Lynch noted that it was when he was still engaged with a Probation Service course he was arrested in connection with the case which finally concluded this week.

As well as sending Heaney to jail for five years, Judge Lynch also imposed a seven-year SOPO.

Under the terms of the order, Heaney is barred from working or advertising in the sex trade or entering into any relationship without giving notice of his background.

But the day after Heaney was sent down it emerged the Public Prosecution Service is to consider appealing on the grounds that the sentence was too lenient.

Victims groups also criticised the sentence for similar reasons.


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