NewsCrime Desk

Adair's ex-wife was just as hard as "Mad Dog" terror chief

Johnny and Gina Adair
Johnny and Gina Adair

GINA ADAIR is the undisputed queen of the gangsters’ molls in Northern Ireland.

Exiled from her native Belfast for almost 14 years, the one-time wife of ex-terror chief Johnny ‘Mad Dog’ Adair dominated the headlines almost as much as her UDA husband.

Gina, known as ‘Mad Bitch’, was a tough yet colourful character in the world of loyalist paramilitaries.

She was the only prolific female character in a world that was dominated by sectarian-fuelled men who claimed countless lives during the Troubles.

Her relationship with Johnny Adair, violent and often turbulent, had people fascinated.

Their on-off love affair endured long stints behind bars, murder attempts and affairs - yet when Johnny was in jail, Gina kept the flag flying.

Even today, despite being divorced, the pair remain close - forever bonded by their own terror experiences.

They met as teenagers.

She was just 14 years old, three years Johnny’s junior, when they began dating.

Like Adair, she was a skinhead, with just a tiny tuft of hair at the front of her shaved head.

For the next two decades they had an often bizarre and unconventional courtship.

They continually broke off their relationship, taking other lovers, but were always drawn back together.

After an on-off 17-year relationship, Adair married Gina Crossan in the Maze prison on February 21, 1997.

 Despite her wild past and many lovers, Gina dressed as a traditional virgin bride in full-length white and was collected from her home in Manor Court in the Oldpark in a limousine.

Top UDA ‘C’ Company and west Belfast members attended and the reception that was held in a prison Portacabin.

In becoming Johnny ‘Mad Dog’ Adair’s wife, Gina’s status increased.

She demanded respect and was prepared to flex her muscles to show she was in the same league as her terrorist husband.

Once pictured armed during a paramilitary show of strength, Gina was prepared to get her hands dirty, happily living in the public eye and living off the earnings of criminality that included extortion and drug dealing.

For years she was the queen of the Shankill Road, but her crown was dramatically removed in February 2003 when she was forced to flee Northern Ireland or face execution during a blood-soaked loyalist feed.

No other female has had such notoriety in Northern Ireland.

Gina and her four children fled their terraced house in Boundary Way in the early hours of the morning, travelling to Bolton, England, with 25 other Johnny Adair supporters while Adair himself was back behind bars for directing terrorism.

The UDA had split and Adair had lost his position as ‘C’ Company chief, the most deadliest faction of the UDA The murder of John ‘Grug’ Gregg, the southeast Antrim UDA brigadier, sealed the Adair family’s fate.

Adair was blamed for the hit on one of his own.

Gregg was one of five members of the UDA’s ruling inner council who voted to expel Adair, the sixth brigadier, because they thought he was trying to take over the organisation, and a bitter feud ensued.

 It cost Johnny his freedom, and his wife and children their home.

They have never returned, and Gina now lives a quiet life in Manchester while Johnny and his new partner and family are settled in Scotland.

Earlier this year Gina, years after fading from the public eye, was in the glare of the media once again, only this time under the most tragic of circumstances – the drug death of her eldest son, Jonathan.

Jonathan died from a heroin overdose just after being released from prison.

He died in Troon, Scotland, where he had lived with his father since being exiled.