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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 March 2007, 11:06 GMT 12:06 UK
Top loyalist given eight years
Willliam "Mo" Courtney
Willliam "Mo" Courtney has been jailed for eight years
Leading loyalist William "Mo" Courtney has been jailed for eight years for his part in the killing of UDA member Alan McCullough.

Mr McCullough's body was found in a shallow grave in the outskirts of Belfast four years ago.

Last year 45-year-old Courtney, of Fernhill Heights, Belfast, had been found not guilty of murdering the 21-year-old.

However, during a retrial last week he admitted to his manslaughter.

Mr McCullough was one of a number of loyalists who fled Northern Ireland during a UDA feud.

He returned to Northern Ireland in April 2003 and his body was found on 5 June. He had been shot.

Courtney must know someone else who was at the scene of this murder, but he has not chosen to disclose that to the authorities
Mr Justice Deeny

Speaking outside the court, Alan McCullough's family said they were unhappy with the sentence.

However, the victim's family said they planned to refer the matter to the Police Ombudsman.

'Must know someone'

His mother Barbara said: "Justice wasn't done - this isn't the finish, it's only the start of it.

"He (Courtney) told me my Alan would be safe. He gave Alan reassurances he would be safe coming in the car," said Mrs McCullough.

Mr Justice Deeny told Courtney he had done nothing to bring Mr McCullough's murderers to justice.

The judge said while it "must be bourne in mind" that the actual killers would receive "life imprisonment with a substantial minimum period if convicted - Courtney has done nothing to assist in this conviction".

"He must know someone else who was at the scene of this murder, but he has not chosen to disclose that to the authorities," added the judge.

He said it was also accepted, "without objection" by the prosecution, that while Courtney "contemplated" Mr McCullough would be kneecapped, this was not his intention nor wish.

"And in particular, that he never contemplated that these other persons would go outside the scope of such harm by actually shooting Alan McCullough to death," he added.

Courtney's retrial came after the prosecution claimed the judge who had acquitted the loyalist made a mistake and lodged 10 grounds of appeal.

Loyalist cleared on murder charge
28 Nov 06 |  Northern Ireland

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