Men Convicted Of Murder Plot

20 July 2015, 19:20

Three men have been convicted of a terror plot to murder former Loyalist leader Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair.

Antoin Duffy, 39, Martin Hughes, 36, and Paul Sands, 32, planned to kill Mr Adair, who is believed to have ordered the murder of dozens of catholics during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

But their first target was to be his right hand man Sam McCrory.

Republican Duffy wanted to make the IRA proud and along with his cousin Hughes and Sands plotted to kill Mr Adair and Mr McCrory.

Yesterday, at the High Court in Glasgow after deliberating for three days the jury of five men and nine women convicted Duffy, Hughes and Sands of conspiring to murder Mr Adair and Mr McCrory by attempting to acquire firearms, carrying out reconnaissance at Mr McCrory's home and and planning where and by what means he was to be murdered.

All three were cleared of  carrying out surveillance to find out where Mr Adair lived and planning where and by what means he was to be murdered.

Duffy, from Donegal, and Hughes were also convicted of terrorism by attempting to acquire vehicles and a AK 47 and making plans for the storage  and retrieval of firearms.

By the jury cleared both men of  trying to communicate or attempting  to communicate with the Real IRA or the IRA.

On October 1, 2013, Duffy and Hughes drove from Glasgow to Ayrshire where they met up with Sands. Their purpose was to carry out a recce of Mr McCrorry's  Ayrshire home and find the  best places to carry out an assassination.

Hughes, who was a Facebook friend of Mr McCrory, pointed out the bus stop he used and routes he took when out walking.

Unknown to them, Hughes Mercedes Jeep had been bugged by police and every word of their conversation which involved talk of weapons and their intended targets was  overheard.

In evidence Hughes claimed that he did not mean a word he said and was merely trying to placate his cousin Duffy, who he said was addicted to Tramadol and suffering from mental health problems.

Sands claimed that it was a joke organised between him and Duffy to wind up Hughes.

But the jury did not believe their stories. They found all three guilty of conspiracy to murder Mr Adair and Mr McCrory once high profile figures in the Loyalist  organisation  the UDA, and its military wing the Ulster Freedom Fighters.

Two other men Craig Convery, 37, and Gordon Brown, 30, were convicted of charges of being involved in organised crime.

Judge Lady Scott deferred sentence on all five men until next month and ordered background reports on all of them and a psychiatric report on Duffy.

She told the jury they would be excused jury service for life and added: "The court is enormously grateful to you. You have dealt with a particularly difficult case involving really serious charges."

All five men showed no emotion as they were led away to the cells.