Glasgow & West Scotland

UDA murder plot trial hears accused 'wanted to shoot' Johnny Adair

Johnny Adair Image copyright PA
Image caption Former UDA leader Johnny Adair was the alleged target of a murder plot

One of four men accused of plotting to kill two former UDA leaders in Scotland spoke of wanting to shoot Johnny "Mad Dog" Adair, a court has heard.

Edward McVeigh, 27, said his former cellmate Anton Duffy hated Mr Adair and his friend Sam McCrory as he believed "they murdered innocent Catholics".

He was giving evidence at the High Court in Glasgow.

Mr Duffy, 39, Martin Hughes, 36, Paul Sands, 31, and John Gorman, 58, deny a plot to kill Mr Adair and Mr McCrory.

The court has already heard that Mr Adair and his best friend Mr McCrory were both former members of prohibited Loyalist terror organisations the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and its paramilitary wing the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF).

Cellmate claims

They were involved in the Good Friday agreement in 1998 which brought peace to Northern Ireland and both have been living in Ayrshire for a number of years.

The court heard that Mr McVeigh shared a cell with Mr Duffy at Castle Huntly open prison and was also at Shotts prison when Mr Duffy was there.

He told the court that Mr Duffy was a Republican sympathiser who claimed he was a member of the Real IRA.

The witness said Mr Duffy had often discussed the possibility of killing Mr Adair.

He said: "He didn't like him. He hated him because of who he is and because of what he's done in Northern Ireland. He's responsible for a lot of murders.

"They murdered innocent Catholics and claimed they were political targets."

Mr McVeigh was asked where the alleged shooting of Mr Adair was to take place and replied: "Either the golf course where he walked his dog early in the morning or at the gym where he trained."

Asked about what weapon would be used, he replied: "The big fella."

He told the jury he had asked Mr Duffy what he meant by that and was allegedly told it was a Kalashnikov.

Mr McVeigh was asked where the information about Mr Adair's movements had come from and replied: "Piddy Gorman I think was the name."

Prison governor

Asked who Mr Duffy said would carry out the shooting, the witness replied: "Himself and it could possibly have been myself or Paul Sands."

The court heard that Mr McVeigh, from Lisburn, Northern Ireland, whose family are mainly Loyalist supporters, converted to Roman Catholicism and was baptised at Castle Huntly. His godfather was Mr Duffy.

Mr McVeigh told the jury of 10 women and five men that Mr Duffy also discussed killing the governor of Barlinnie prison, Derek McGill.

He said he heard Mr Duffy and Piddy Gorman talking about this and added: "I walked into the cell they were talking about information about the car he was driving and where he played five-a-side football."

Mr McVeigh added: "There was discussion about a possible bomb, but they didn't want innocent children or other people getting hurt."

He claimed that a gun was then talked about.

Mr McVeigh told the court that Mr Duffy said that Gerry Adams was a traitor because of his involvement in the peace process.

He added: "Anton had a bitterness and hate because the British ruled the north of Ireland and British soldiers were still occupying the north. He wanted a united Ireland."

Drug dealer

Derek Ogg QC, defending Mr Duffy, asked convicted drug dealer Mr McVeigh if both of he and Mr Duffy were addicted to Tramadol during their stay together in prison.

Mr McVeigh said they were and added: "I was taking up to 30 tablets a day and Anton was taking double that."

The QC then said: "If you were affected by this drug you wouldn't know who had been in your cell and what they had said." Mr McVeigh replied: "It depends how many you have taken that day."

All accused deny the charge against them.

The trial continues.

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