UDA used teens in school uniform to case scene of Adams murder plot

NewsBy Jim McDowell
Kids in school uniform were used to case scene of murder bid on Gerry Adams
Kids in school uniform were used to case scene of murder bid on Gerry Adams

The UDA used schoolboy scouts to target Sinn Fein chief Gerry Adams.

Nelson reveals that UDA bosses remained determined to get  their man. Far from being put off by the failure of the sniper plot, they came up with a plan which – had it succeeded – would have blown Adams to smithereens.

Again it was Nelson, with his British military training, who planned the attack down to the last minute detail. Adams was unaware he had dodged an assassin’s bullet days earlier and had continued to attend regular meetings at the Housing Executive in Murray Street.

His movements were to be monitored by two teenagers dressed in school uniform who were also tasked with ensuring the coast was clear. It was their intervention that unwittingly saved Adams’ life.

In stark detail, Nelson tells how the UDA came up with a new murder plot.

“A few days later X [a named UDA chief who is still alive] and I were walking, he put his arm around my shoulder and whispered in my ear ‘I’ve got a limpet mine’,” he wrote.

“I said to him ‘You’re joking’. He was astonished and it showed.”

X, a senior UDA figure, told him the sniper plot had been “dead on” and they had been unlucky, but he wanted to make sure of getting their man, and he was leaving nothing to chance.

So, says Nelson, X got “someone in east Belfast” to make him a “totally reliable” limpet mine.

X came to see him in the company of two UDA commanders, whom he names in his notes and who remain alive today.

One of them he describes as the UDA’s commander in the Woodvale area of Belfast.

“He currently, as of writing,” says Nelson, “commands West Belfast Brigade UDA and as such is a member of the UDA’s ruling Inner Council.” He says the second man was a member of Woodvale’s “military wing”.

The second assassination plot was outlined. Again, it was to be focused on Gerry Adams’ weekly visit to the Housing Executive office in Murray Street.

Nelson says a lookout would be on the corner of the street, and give a signal when Adams was getting into his car.

A UDA operative, still currently active in the organisation, was waiting near the Black Man statue.

 “In this area, a motorbike and driver would be sitting waiting on the signal that Adams was on the move would then take up the pillon (sic) seat on the bike.

“The limpet mine was to be carried in a satchel that he would sling over his shoulder.”

The plan was to tail the car – an ex-RUC armour plated Ford Cortina – overtake it at the first opportunity and attach the mine to the roof, the only part of the car not protected by armour plating.

“As the bike overtook the car he would plant the mine on the roof as they passed.

“The roof of the car was not armoured: the mine was fitted with a four second fuse and before those inside the car could register what was happening; the mine, as it was designed to do, would have imploded.

“And in the words of X: ‘They won’t stand a chance, they’ll be blown to f*****g pieces.’”

Tellingly, double agent Nelson writes: “That was how it was put to me by X and I could see no fault in his plan and praised him for his ingenuity, silently thanking him at the same time for telling me.”

Nelson says that he attended a ‘rehersal’ (sic) two days before the boobytrap bomb bid.

Nelson says that the night after the X meeting he had a “scheduled de-brief” with handler ‘Ronnie’. 

He says he was “again told to distance myself from it”.

Again, he prevailed, and took part in the Tuesday morning dry run, which, he says, the wannabe assassins were delighted with, and noted that they thought the actual Adams  murder bid would be “a doddle”.

But Nelson says his car was rumbled at 9.55am the day before the planned hit by a passing joint army/police foot patrol.

The schoolboy lookouts noted the patrol had taken Nelson’s picture, arousing suspicion the plot had been uncovered. The hit was abandoned and Adams escaped again.

At a further de-brief handler ‘Ronnie’ was astonished the UDA was prepared to use kids in the murder bid.