‘Plot to assassinate “Mad Dog” Adair at gym’

Johnny Adair was to be gunned down with 'The big fella' ' meaning an assault rifle ' the trial was told. Picture: PA
Johnny Adair was to be gunned down with 'The big fella' ' meaning an assault rifle ' the trial was told. Picture: PA
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A MURDER plot accused told a cellmate he hated former loyalist paramilitary boss Johnny “Mad Dog” Adair and talked of shooting him as he walked his dog or trained at the gym, a court heard yesterday.

Edward McVeigh, 27, shared a cell with Antoin Duffy, also known as Anton, at Castle Huntly open prison, and was also at Shotts prison when Duffy was there.

He told the High Court in Glasgow that Duffy was a republican sympathiser who claimed he was a member of the Real IRA.

Paul Kearney, prosecuting, asked Mr McVeigh: “How often did you discuss the possibility of taking out Johnny Adair with Antoin Duffy?” and he replied: “I’m not sure. Every couple of days.”

He was then asked about Duffy’s attitude towards Adair and 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 Kearney asked where the alleged shooting of Adair was to take place and was told by Mr McVeigh: “Either the golf course where he walked his dog early in the morning or at the gym where he trained.”

Mr Kearney asked: “What discussion was there about what weapon was going to be used?” and Mr McVeigh replied: “The big fella.” He told the jury he had asked Duffy what he meant by that and was allegedly told it was a Kalashnikov.

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

Mr Kearney then asked: “Who did Mr Duffy say would do the actual shooting of Mr Adair?” and Mr McVeigh said: “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 Duffy.

Mr McVeigh was giving evidence at the trial of Duffy, 39, Martin Hughes, 36, Paul Sands, 31, and John Gorman, 58, all of whom deny conspiring to murder Adair – once a high-profile figures in the loyalist organisation the Ulster Freedom Fighters.

It is also claimed Duffy and Gorman were part of a plot 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.

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

He said he heard 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.

All accused deny the charges against them.

The trial before judge Lady Scott continues.