Sunday Life

News special - Johnny's year in the dog house...

By Stephen Breen
28 December 2003

IN just over a week's time, ousted terror chief, Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair, will have spent the last year behind bars.

During his time locked up in the women's and asylum seekers' wing of Maghaberry Prison, Adair will have had 12 months to reflect on - what can only be described as - his "annus horribilis".

It all started to go wrong for the former leader of the UDA's notorious 'C' company, when he kickstarted his campaign to become the terror group's 'top dog', in 2002.

Shortly following the launch of his crusade, Adair and his former sidekick, John 'CoCo' White, remained defiant, after they were expelled from the UDA for "treason".

But Adair's defiance was short-lived, when he was returned to prison, by Secretary of State, Paul Murphy, in January, as his feud with his former comrades threatened to spiral out of control.

Although the terror boss still held control over the lower Shankill, from his prison cell in Maghaberry, his fate was finally sealed, after the murder of bitter enemy, John 'Grug' Gregg.

The south east Antrim UDA 'brigadier' was gunned down, along with fellow terrorist, Rab Carson, by Adair's men, in February.

The killing sparked a violent response from the UDA leadership, and the few remaining members of Adair's 'C' company were forced to flee for their lives.

The caged loyalist was helpless in his lonely prison cell, as the terrorist and crime empire, which he had spent years constructing, crumbled around him.

Adair watched as wife, Gina, sidekick, 'CoCo', and his most trusted allies fled Northern Ireland under threat of death, to the sanctuary of Scotland, and later to the north west of England.

The former 'C' company leader was left even more isolated, as some of his former 'steadfast' comrades, including prominent west Belfast loyalist, Mo Courtney, refused to back him, in his war with the UDA leadership.

Adair was now being attacked from all quarters.

Even Milltown murderer, Michael Stone, got in on the act, when he spoke exclusively to Sunday Life about Adair's behind-bars gay sex romps and drug-taking exploits, during their time in the Maze.

As the UDA leadership announced a one-year period of "military inactivity", after the bitter feud with Adair's men, the caged loyalist was left out in the cold.

But, during the year, Adair's battered ego resurfaced from time to time, when he would verbally attack the men on the UDA's 'inner council'.

Speaking to Sunday Life, Adair vowed to go back to his old stomping ground, after his release from prison, in 2005, and promised to confront the men who he blamed for attacking his wife, Gina, when she defied a UDA death threat, to make a visit to her mother's home.

We were also the first paper to travel to Bolton, to meet with Adair's wife and his henchmen, to report on their new life away from the Shankill.

And we were the first to reveal how Adair had become embroiled in a bitter row with one of his former comrades, who he accused of being a top spy, during the 1980s and 1990s.

But, after the arrest of Adair's pal, 'Bolton wanderer', Ian Truesdale, for the murder of Jonathan Stewart, and last week's arrest of his wife and son, for alleged drugs offences, his Christmas and New Year is not going to be a happy one.

Senior security sources told Sunday Life Adair's fall from grace had been "remarkable".

Said the source: "The last year must seem like an eternity for Adair and his men. They really have been attacked from all quarters.

"Adair used the last year to refer to his enemies as 'criminals' and 'pimps', but everyone knows his own men are ruthless terrorists and gangsters.

"Everything seems to be going wrong for Adair at the minute, and it really is hard to see him going back to the Shankill - the word on the street is that he's finished."

It just goes to show you, what a difference a year makes . . .

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