Murdered terror chief's homes auctioned

22/02/2005 - 22:22:40

Four houses belonging to a murdered loyalist terror boss were auctioned off for more than £250,000 (€360,300) tonight.

Drugs baron Jim Johnston’s properties in Bangor, Co Down, went under the hammer as part of a major operation by the UK wide Assets Recovery Agency.

The money spinning semi-detached homes, all rented out by Johnston, were sold for a total of £267,000 (€384,700), sources disclosed.

With the assassinated Red Hand Commando chief’s luxury home in Crawfordsburn, Co Down, fetching £410,000 (€590,700) last year, and under undisclosed sales, the crime-fighting team is closing in on the total £1.25m (€1.8m) his estate was valued at.

But a fruit and vegetable shop with upstairs drinking club in east Belfast was held over after punters refused to meet the expected price.

Johnston, 45, was shot dead outside his house in May 2003 as part of a bitter feud with rival loyalist paramilitaries.

The agency was granted a High Court order to seize his cash and property last September in the first civil recovery to exceed £1m (€1.4m).

Alan McQuillan, a former Northern Ireland police chief and head of ARA’s team in the North, was at tonight’s sell-off at auction rooms just outside north Belfast.

One source said: “Alan was absolutely delighted with the prices and believes they were pretty much on the mark with his values.”

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