Scotsman admits he destroyed car used in loyalist murder

Loyalist John Boreland. UDA leader who was shot dead in Belfast last night
Loyalist John Boreland. UDA leader who was shot dead in Belfast last night

A 30-year old man has admitted destroying a car used in the murder of north Belfast loyalist John ‘Bonzer’ Boreland.

Thomas O’Hara, from Brownhill Drive in the Kilburney area of Scotland, initially denied destroying a silver Renault Megan car which was sought by police in connection with the murder of the former UDA boss.

Mr Boreland (40) was shot dead in the Sunningdale Gardens area of north Belfast last August as he made his way home from a local pub. At the time of the murder, it was reported that he was shot in the chest before being shot again through the top of his skull.

Last month O’Hara and two co-accused appeared in court where they each denied a charge of perverting the course of justice between August 6 and 11, 2016 by destroying the car sought in connection to the murder.

However, O’Hara was back at Belfast Crown Court on Thursday, where his barrister asked that he be re-arraigned on the single charge. When the offence was put to him again today, he replied “guilty”.

The plea was entered as a group of four men, including loyalist Andre Shoukri, sat in the public gallery.

During the hearing, it emerged that two other men are to stand trial at the end of November on the same charge of perverting the course of justice. Darren George Thomas John McAlister (34), from Carrs Glen in Belfast, and 62-year old Thomas Boyd Pearson deny destroying the silver Megan sought by police.

Pearson, from Rathglynn in Antrim, also faces a second charge of supplying the silver Renault Megan, knowing or suspecting it may be used in an act of terrorism.

After hearing the trial is due to start on November 27, Judge David McFarland agreed to postpone O’Hara’s sentencing until the conclusion of his two codefendants’ trial.

Judge McFarland was told by O’Hara’s barrister that there was no bail application, prompting the judge to say, “take him back into custody”.