Johnny Adair and Sam 'Skelly' McCrory say they were set up by 'Judas'

NewsBy Hugh Jordan
Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair
Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair
Gary 'Smickers' Smith
Gary 'Smickers' Smith
Sam 'Skelly' McCrory
Sam 'Skelly' McCrory

Exiled terror twins Johnny ‘Mad Dog’ Adair and Sam ‘Skelly’ McCrory claim they were set up for murder... by one of their own.

In an exclusive interview with the Sunday World McCrory accuses former comrade-in-arms Gary ‘Smickers’ Smith of betraying them to a dissident republican murder squad.

He said former UFF goon Smith and paramilitary pal Thomas Irvine have been bragging about their dissident contacts, but he claims it was Smith who took “30 pieces of silver” to deliver Adair and McCrory on a platter.

This week in the High Court in Glasgow a three-man hit squad was found guilty of the murder plot, but as far as McCrory is concerned there should have been at least one other man in the dock.

Smith was part of the notorious UFF C Company controlled by Adair which waged a blood-soaked campaign of sectarian murder from the Lower Shankill estate during the latter part of the Troubles and is believed to have been responsible for up to 25 murders.


Hardman McCrory, a UDA commander in west Belfast, and a long time close associate of Adair, this week described Smith as a “scumbag”.

They maintain the ex –‘C Coy’ man – now living in Kilmarnock in Ayrshire – personally ‘Judased’ them – to be shot down by republican gunmen in return for money.

“Gary Smith was bought off by 30 pieces of silver. It’s as simple as that,” Sam ‘Skelly’ McCrory told the Sunday World yesterday.

He insists Smith’s alleged betrayal came as no surprise, and declared the murder plot would not affect their new lives in Scotland.

Speaking to us at his home in Ayr, McCrory brushed off the plot.

“As far as Johnny and I are concerned, ‘what doesn’t kill you  makes you stronger’.

“It was brought to our attention that Smickers and his mate – another Shankill so-called loyalist living here called Thomas Irvine, were boasting that they had contacts with dissident republicans. And that the dissidents were planning to take me and Johnny out.”

He said their former comrades had shown their true colours.

“These people ran about bragging about how loyal they were – Irvine has a huge UDA tattoo on his back – but at the end of the day, they are the enemy. They broke every rule in the book.”

Pressed to reveal what – apart from money – would have motivated Smith to set him and Adair up for murder, he said Smith was a dreamer.

“At the end of the day, Smickers is a wannabe. He’s a scumbag wanting to get glory.

“He wanted to be the main man in ‘C Coy’ – but he wasn’t the main man. I was Johnny’s main man.

“And Stevie McKeag – Top Gun – he also played a huge role, but Smickers was just a scumbag.”

McKeag was the UFF’s main hitman in C Company, believed to have been personally responsible for a dozen murders. He became a cocaine addict and was  found dead in his lower Shankill home in 2000. Cause of death was a massive overdose of coke and pain killers.

“Smickers ran about Scotland bumming and bragging and blowing about what he had done – he had done this and he had done that – but he did nothing other people hadn’t done before him.”

When asked outright if he believed Smith – a convicted loyalist terrorist – would have been prepared to stand by and allow republican dissidents to gun down him and Johnny Adair, Sam McCrory replied: “Oh yes, of course he would.”

Smith was a figure from his past, he said, the men have not been in contact for the best part of a decade, and painted a picture of a man hopelessly addicted to drugs.

“I haven’t spoken to Smickers for over 10 years and neither has Johnny. He has a massive coke habit and that controls his life,.” insisted McCrory.

“Smickers tried to sell Johnny and me for 30 pieces of silver. He’s Judas Iscariot. No good and good for nothing.”

Adair was jailed for 16 years when he pleaded guilty to directing terrorism and McCrory got 15 years for conspiracy to murder leading IRA man Brian Gillen.

The pair have been living in exile in Scotland since 2003 when Adair’s C Company was driven out of Belfast during a bitter loyalist feud. They have broken almost all contact with their home city but remain two of the most notorious loyalists of the Troubles.


Republican sympathisers, Antoin Duffy, Martin Hughes and Paul Sands – all living in Scotland – wanted to wreak revenge on the pair for their murderous past.


McCrory revealed he knew nothing about the murder plot until he heard on the news that 14 people had been arrested in connection with a plan to murder senior loyalists living in Scotland.

“A wee while later, two detectives arrived at my door to tell me the plan was to kill me and Johnny.

“Johnny knew nothing about it either. He was away in Spain with his girlfriend Lynn to celebrate his birthday. The cops gripped him when he came off the plane on the way home. He thought he was being arrested, but they told him he had been targeted by dissidents.”

When called to give evidence he told the court he knew little or nothing about those charged and now convicted, but admitted one of the gang, Paul Sands had been in his flat in Ayr

“When I was in the witness box giving evidence at the beginning of the trial, they asked me if I knew him, but I said I didn’t.

“They produced film of the AK rifle that was to be used to shoot Johnny. I was asked a few questions about the gun, which I answered truthfully.

“The barrister said I appeared to know a lot about the weapon and I said, ‘Well, I was caught with one and got 15 years for it!’

“The only one of the plotters I’d heard of was Paul Sands – and that was just because he was a local boy. He lived in Ayr. He’s even been here in my flat.

Donegal born Antoin Duffy – the self-appointed leader of the republican hit squad – hoped that by killing high-profile loyalists like Adair and McCrory, he could re-ignite the terror war in Northern Ireland.

After recruiting his cousin Martin Hughes 36, and Paul Sands 32, Duffy began to harden up his blueprint for double murder.

He planned to have Sam McCrory shot through the side of the head, as he walked along a quiet country lane near his home in Ayr.

The McCrory killing would be quickly followed up by gunning down Johnny Adair using a high-powered AK 47 Kalashnikov assault rifle, which he hoped to acquire from a criminal gang.

His downfall was sharing his plan with other inmates while behind bars.

Last Monday a jury convicted all three of conspiracy to murder Adair and McCrory, by trying to get hold of guns.

The three convicted men will be sentenced at a later date.