LOYALIST murderer Garfield Beattie has been convicted of sending a letter to Mid Ulster councillor Denise Mullen, to intimidate her into discontinuing legal action to seize his assets for murdering her father.
Beattie and other members of the UVF shot dead Ms Mullen’s father, SDLP activist Denis Mullen (35), at his home near Moy in September 1975.
As well as the murder of Mr Mullen, Beatty was also convicted of killing Patrick McNeice, age 50, outside his home near Loughgall. and 48-year-old father-of-four Fred McLoughlin, who died in a UVF gun and bomb attack on the Eagle Bar, Charlemont, near Armagh. He also admitted a number of other terrorist offences, including the attempted murder of Olive Mullen, the wife of Denis Mullen.
On September 12 1977, Beattie of Moss Road Annaghmore, Portadown, was sentenced to three life sentences and served nearly 17 years in jail.
Mrs Olive Mullen attended this morning’s hearing by videolink. She took part in a protest with supporters outside Dungannon courthouse, before the hearing. She held a placard that read: “RUC – UVF – MOD – MI5. Murdered my husband Dennis Mullen and your 13 shots attempted murder of me”.
In the letter send last September, Beattie (age 64) warned Ms Mullan that there would be “consequences” for her and her immediate family if she did not abandon her action against him. The letter was signed, “East Tyrone UVF”.
Ms Mullen told the Magistrates Court that the letter, had caused her family great emotional distress to her family.
A lawyer for Beattie said his client admitted sending the letter. However the defendant claimed it was not done to intimidate Ms Mullen and that he was suggesting the action she was taking against him was “bad for her health”.
He also said it had been a ‘mistake’ to sign the letter as coming from the UVF and that he had not meant to create that impression. A Prosecution lawyer however said he was intimating it came from the Loyalist terror group as it referred to ‘us’, ‘our’ and ‘we’ rather than an individual (namely Beattie).
After listening to evidence from Ms Mullan and Beattie, the District Judge Michael Ranaghan found the defendant ‘guilty’ of using intimidation to stop a legal action and the improper use of a correspondence.
Judge Ranaghan said it was “ludicrous” of Beattie to state that the letter did not purport to come from the UVF.
He added, “As if you have not done enough to Ms Mullan throughout her life. The letter was to stave off legal proceedings”.
The judge expressed “disgust” with Beattie’s offending
He added, “I was very tempted to dispense with the requirement of a pre-sentence report and send you to jail today. I will however listen to what Probation have to say before sentencing.
“You are also on licence so there my be an inevitability regardless. I very much warn you must co-operate with Probation”.
Judge Ranaghan also told Beattie to keep his head down when leaving court and not even glance at Ms Mullan.
Beattie will return to the court to be sentenced on November 26.