Leading loyalists charged with murder bid on ex-UDA chiefs


Leading loyalists John Bunting and John “Hoover” Howcroft appeared in court on Saturday charged with attempting to murder ex-UDA chiefs Andre Shoukri and John “Bonzer” Boreland.

A massive police presence filled the public gallery at Belfast Magistrates’ Court.

Forty-seven-year-old Bunting, from Stonebridge Avenue in Conlig; Howcroft, 47, from Formby Park, Belfast; and a third man – 31-year-old Darren George McAllister, from the Alliance Road, Belfast – were charged with two counts of attempted murder and possessing a firearm with intent to commit murder.

It is alleged the trio were part of a gang that fired on the men in the Ballysillan area of the city last Wednesday night.

Boreland was hit in the thigh with a single shot, while Shoukri escaped injury in the gun attack.

No bail applications were made so the district judge remanded all three into custody to appear via video-link on September 18.

Around a dozen police officers sat in the public gallery during the hearing, keeping separate the families of Bunting, Howcroft and McAllister from a group of rival loyalists.