Anthony Stokes was ‘approached for help with guns’

A MAN accused of plotting to kill former UDA leader Johnny Adair allegedly approached Celtic striker Anthony Stokes to ask for his father’s help in getting guns, a court has heard.

Celtic player Anthony Stokes, centre. Picture: John Devlin
Celtic player Anthony Stokes, centre. Picture: John Devlin

Antoin Duffy claimed in a bugged conversation with his girlfriend Stacey McAllister that he had walked up to striker Stokes in a pub. The High Court in Glasgow heard that the pub regulars reacted with fury to the 

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

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He was also followed and, in September, returned from drinking at Celtic pub the Brazen Head.

In a tape played to the jury of ten women and five men, Duffy on his return from the pub is allegedly 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 f***ing weapons.

“I seen Anthony Stokes tonight and ah 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.”

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

“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?”

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 Hair-splitter.

Mr Ogg revealed that all the excerpts from the tapes given to defence teams initially 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 replied: “The discussion was had by senior officers that the information originally released was sufficient for disclosure purposes.”

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

Duffy, 39, Martin Hughes, 36, Paul Sands, 31, and John Gorman, 58, deny conspiring to murder “Mad Dog” Adair and Sam “Skelly” McCrory, once high-profile figures in loyalist organisation the UDA and its paramilitary wing the Ulster Freedom Fighters.

Duffy and Gorman also deny being part of a plan to murder the governor of Barlinnie in a car bomb attack.

Three other men deny organised crime charges.

The trial continues.