A top Belfast loyalist was charged tonight with murdering rogue paramilitary Alan McCullough.
The 39-year-old is the second man to be accused by police of killing the one-time ally of jailed terror boss Johnny Adair, and is due to appear in court tomorrow.
McCullough, 21, was found dead in a shallow grave on the outskirts of north Belfast last week.
The Ulster Defence Association admitted the murder, claiming the victim had been heavily involved in assassinating John Gregg, Adair’s most hated rival in the organisation.
Gregg was gunned down near Belfast docks in February at the height of a deadly feud that claimed four lives.
As Adair languished behind bars, members of his splinter C Company unit were forced out of their Lower Shankill stronghold in West Belfast and forced to flee to Scotland and England by UDA men, bent on avenging the UDA commander’s murder.
McCullough, who was the military commander of the grouping, was among those who fled, but he returned to Northern Ireland last month after negotiating to have the death sentence against him lifted.
On the night he vanished, two senior UDA men called at his home. He was never seen alive again.
The massive week-long police manhunt only ended when his body was discovered close to desolate country road in the Newtonabbey area.
A North Belfast loyalist, Iahab Shoukri, was remanded in custody yesterday after appearing at Belfast Magistrates’ Court accused of the murder.
He was also charged with membership of the UDA military wing, the Ulster Freedom Fighters. Shoukri denied both charges.
It is understood that the second to be accused of the killing is one of the UDA’s top men in Belfast. He has also been charged with membership of the UFF.