Glenanne Gang member Garfield Beattie has failed in an attempt to be released on bail ahead of appealing a prison sentence for sending a threatening letter signed ‘East Tyrone UVF’ to the daughter of a man he murdered in 1975.
Denis Mullen was murdered by the notorious gang in the presence of his four-year-old daughter Denise, who was covered in blood and heard gunmen fire 13 shots at her mother, as she fled across fields.
Although Beattie (64) of Moss Road, Portadown accepted sending the letter he denied any malicious intent but was convicted after a contest.
During the contested hearing at Dungannon Magistrates’ Court, Ms Mullan spoke of “legal and personal” issues with Beattie.
“The legal issue is I am trying to seize his assets, and the personal issue is he murdered my father,” she said.
Beattie contacted her and although anxious, she accepted his invitation to meet, during which he discussed his UVF involvement and being offered a gun.
He spoke of instructions to murder Ms Mullan’s parents and how a fourth person fired a gun into the air in the aftermath, indicating “a job well done”.
Beattie refused to name him but tried to “broker a deal” to have the litigation dropped.
Sometime later Ms Mullan’s legal action was published in media and in September 2020 she received the letter signed, “East Tyrone UVF”.
Beattie claimed this was to prevent “long-term effects on Northern Ireland and consequences on Ms Mullan’s health, her family but not on her life. She was starting a precedent. People in the paramilitary world were very worried. I was told if she wins this case, the Bloody Sunday Inquiry will fall into insignificance because it won’t cost millions, it would be trillions.”
He claimed the loyalist unit was infiltrated by a British Army agent and while covering for them in 1976, halted this telling the court, “Every catholic murdered in Armagh and Tyrone was by British Army weapons.”
He acknowledged signing the letter East Tyrone UVF was wrong but insisted “it wasn’t intimidation or harassment. She may have taken it up wrong.”
Beattie admitted telling Ms Mullan to withdraw the “ludicrous legal action” and in return he’d help her get compensation from the Ministry of Defence.
At sentencing a defence barrister contended Beattie is rehabilitated and suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Jailing Beattie for 15 months District Judge Michael Ranaghan told him, “The devastating, cowardly and murderous acts impacted on Ms Mullan and continue to do so. In effect you ruined her life. You compounded that by your vicious cowardly actions . I don’t believe there is one genuine drop of remorse in your body.”
An application for bail ahead of appeal was refused.
At High Court today (Wednesday) defence counsel pointed out the District Judge refused bail, did so on the basis the appeal would be heard the next working day.
However the date has since shifted and although imminent, the defence said: “In principle, there was little to suggest it was necessary or proportionate to refuse bail pending appeal.”
Mr Justice O’Hara ruled as it appears at this stage there is nothing to suggest the appeal won’t go ahead, there was no reason to grant bail with the hearing so close.