Glasgow & West Scotland

Celtic player Anthony Stokes 'approached over guns'

Brazen Head Image copyright Google
Image caption Anton Duffy claimed that he approached Celtic player Anthony Stokes in the Brazen Head pub

One of four men accused of plotting to kill two former UDA leaders in Scotland allegedly asked a Celtic player about getting guns, a court has heard.

In a police recording, Anton Duffy, 39, said he asked Anthony Stokes in Glasgow's Brazen Head pub to get his father to speak to someone about guns.

The High Court in Glasgow heard pub regulars reacted furiously to this.

Mr Duffy, John Gorman, 58, Paul Sands, 31 and Martin Hughes, 36, deny plotting to kill Johnny Adair and Sam McCrory.

The High Court in Glasgow 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).

Surveillance operations

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 trial has also been told that the accused were recorded by police during surveillance operations.

Mr Duffy's home in Old Castle Road, Glasgow, was bugged by police from August to October 2013.

One conversation was recorded after he returned from the Brazen Head pub in the city's Gorbals area on 1 September 2013 .

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

In a tape played to the jury of 10 women and five men, Mr Duffy is heard to say: "I wanted to go and talk to Anthony Stokes and see if his dad could get a message to Donzo about these...weapons.

"I seen Anthony Stokes tonight and I says listen, I need to talk to your dad and then everybody started jumping in going uh blah, blah, blah, know what I mean.

"They're singing songs and all this carry on saying you can't do this. I said leave me alone. Not one of them has ever had to go on an operation where they got shot."

Det Con Ross Arnott, who was involved in the surveillance operation, was asked by QC Derek Ogg, defending Mr Duffy: "We heard how Mr Duffy approached Anthony Stokes the Celtic footballer and was angry when there was a big reaction.

'Crazy behaviour'

"He approached Anthony Stokes to ask if he could speak to his dad to speak to somebody else about guns and everyone seemed to take exception to this?" and DC Arnott replied: "Yes."

Mr Ogg then said: "Throughout the tapes we hear Mr Duffy refer to his crazy behaviour and taking Tramadol," and DC Arnott replied: "That's correct."

The court heard that police recorded 1,300 hours of covert tapes during the operation codenamed Operation Hairsplitter.

Mr Ogg revealed that initially all the excepts from the tapes given to defence teams excluded any reference to Duffy's addiction to Tramadol.

The QC said to DC Arnott: "Originally, the security services did not wish to release to us any recordings with references to Tramadol and my client's addiction to it, why was this?" The police officer said: "The decision was made by senior officers that the information originally released was sufficient for disclosure purposes."

The jury heard that in the tapes finally released there were numerous references to Mr Duffy being sick due to Tramodol.

It is also claimed Mr Duffy and Mr Gorman were allegedly part of a plan to murder the governor of Barlinnie jail Derek McGill in a car bomb attack.

Three other men - Craig Convery, 37, Gary Convery, 34, and Gordon Brown, 29 - deny organised crime charges.

The trial before judge Lady Scott continues.

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