Bobby’s UVF killers awarded immunity over daylight murder of loyalist gangster
THE UVF killers of Bobby Moffett have been granted immunity.
One of the most notorious peace-time murders is set to remain unsolved as it has emerged those believed to be responsible have received so-called ‘comfort letters’ telling them they are no longer under investigation. The Sunday World understands those who ordered the murder and those who carried it out have been handed a get-of-jail-free-card. According to sources, UVF chief John ‘Bunter’ Graham is one of a handful of people believed to have been told they will live out their lives without the prospect of prosecution. Moffett, who was a member of the Red Hand Commando, a sister organisation of the UVF, was shot dead in broad daylight on the Shankill Road in North Belfast in May 2010. His funeral was one of the largest seen on the Shankill in living memory and sparked a backlash against the UVF.
Moffett’s murder was ordered and sanctioned at the highest level of the terror organisation. The low-level RHC member was murdered in the most brutal manner. Shot in the face twice by two loyalist terrorists using shotguns in broad daylight as he made his way to a meeting, his death sparked outrage in the loyalist heartland. It is now believed the UVF leadership have been assured they do not face police action. The assurances were given in the wake of the killing in an attempt to keep the UVF leadership on board the peace train. The issue of ‘comfort letters’ has been controversial with a number of high-profile IRA members benefiting-but less attention has been paid to loyalist killers. The Sunday World has previously revealed the UVF used immunity from prosecution as a bargaining chip in return for delivering the terror group’s move away from violence.
The UVF has murdered more than 30 people since the organisation declared its ceasefire a quarter of a century ago. The revelation that British secret service agents have been protected and now afforded immunity will spark outrage. The security services used loyalist terror groups will remain hidden. Graham, who is in poor health, is believed to have worked for MI5 for more than 40 years and is understood to have campaigned for years for protection from prosecution for a raft of murders in return for a cessation of violence. The failure of his organisation to ‘transition’ from violence is known to have caused serious frustration at government level. Moffett’s murder – among 32 others since their ceasefire – sparked the greatest controversy.
The Sunday World understands that Graham, his second in command and a small clutch of others are in receipt of letters. The shotgun used to kill Moffett was stolen from a farmhouse in Co Antrim. The murder weapon was handed to low-level UVF operative Andy ‘Hard To Kill’ Aiken in the minutes after the shooting. Aiken, who was ostracized from the terror group and descended into a spiral of drug abuse, was found dead at a house in South Belfast 18 months ago. He had been arrested and questioned about the Moffett murder but was released without charge.
Aiken was one of the two killers and it was his contacts in the loyalist village area of South Belfast that helped destroy the gateaway car. Once a trusted UVF member, Aiken had been sidelined by the group as he turned increasingly to drink and drugs. It has been said the organisation became concerned that he could be vulnerable under interrogation due to his addictions. The UVF’s continued involvement in violence has been a major issue in the corridors of power and the revelation that senior figures have been granted state sanctuary is understood to have created friction within the security services. According to sources the issue of comfort letters has ‘clouded the waters’ and has made tackling legacy issues difficult. The failure to press cases against the UVF leadership has raised questions about what the British government and security services have to hide. Loyalist paramilitary sources have told the Sunday World that the Moffett murder was supposed to be a watershed, but became a roadblock because of assurances given to alleged agents such as Graham.
The view has been backed up by security services who claim a raft of unsolved murders will remain ‘on the books’ because of the use of British agents and so-called comfort letters. “If anyone thinks these issues and cases will be resolved then think again. “The [British] government has made promises and they have to stick by them, it works for them and works for the UVF.”
With many thanks to: Richard Sullivan for the EXCLUSIVE original story for the Sunday World –richard.sullivan.sundayworld.com
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