The family of a young Catholic postal worker gunned down by loyalists in Belfast have urged a coroner to order 12 former suspects and an author on the UDA to give evidence at his inquest.

Lawyers for Daniel McColgan’s relatives asked for a writer living in Scotland who authored a book on the UDA to be called as a witness.

The 20-year-old father-of-one was shot dead by a UDA gang as he arrived for work at a sorting office in the loyalist Rathcoole estate in the Newtownabbey area of north Belfast in 2002.

At a preliminary hearing on Wednesday, barrister Andrew Moriarty, for the McColgans, told coroner John Leckey he would like 12 suspects to testify.

No one has ever been convicted for Mr McColgan’s sectarian murder.

Referring to media reports written in the following years that mentioned a number of suspects questioned by police, Mr Moriarty said “it would be appropriate to have such persons called”.

The senior coroner raised doubts however, stating press reports did not equate to evidence and that he was not there to quiz suspects.

“I don’t carry out a police investigation,” he told him.

PSNI representative Mark Robinson also questioned the proposal. “This is not a re-opening of the police investigation,” he said.

Mr Leckey added that a statement requested by the senior detective who investigated the murder should cover the police’s involvement with the 12 people in question.

The barrister later requested that Ian S Wood, a Scottish-based author of the book ‘Crimes of Loyalty: A History of the UDA’ published in 2006, to be considered as an addition on the witness list.

The book covers Mr McColgan’s murder, but the coroner was again doubtful of the usefulness his appearance might make.

“The standard response from journalists is that they will not compromise their sources,” he added.

Mr Robinson told the coroner Mr Wood had already been interviewed by police and a transcript had been disclosed to the court.

Mr Moriarty also requested police reports on the history of the two guns used in the killing, Mr Robinson responded that he would know in a week if they would be ready.

A ruling was not made on the submissions and the issues will be raised again at a future preliminary hearing.

UTV News