The death curse of the UDA 'brigadiers'
The tragic death of Johnny Adair’s son Jonathan has left people wondering if the infamous UDA bosses of yesteryear have been cursed.
Former West Belfast brigadier Adair is not the first UDA boss to lose a close family member to drugs.
In fact Adair was in charge of the west at the same time as Jim Gray was brigadier of east Belfast and Andre Shoukri was the terror group’s top dog in the north of the city.
Aside from meeting his own grisly death at the hands of his former comrades, Jim ‘Doris Day’ Gray lost his son Jonathan to a drugs overdose.
In 2008 former North Belfast brigadier Andre Shoukri lost his brother Ihab, another prominent UDA figure, to drugs.
Meanwhile things didn’t end well for the then UDA South East Antrim brigadier John ‘Grugg’ Gregg.
The hulking terror boss, who won ‘legendary’ status for his gun attack on Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, was cut down in a hail of bullets as he arrived in Belfast docks following a trip to see Rangers.
All four UDA bosses were in top positions during the same period around 2002.
This week Johnny Adair and his family are in mourning following the death of his eldest son, who had been released from a prison sentence not long before.
Adair Jnr was known to have used drugs and two years ago he was jailed for more than 12 months following a drug-fuelled rampage when he was refused a cannabis sale.
Adair junior was groomed by his terror chief father and loyalist sources have said he was always likely to meet a “bad end”.
In 2002 Jim Gray left his 19-year-old son to die writhing in agony after a drugs ‘n’ hookers party in a Bangkok hotel.
The slain loyalist terror boss cowered in a nearby bar after receiving a mercy call telling him his son had overdosed after snorting heroin.
He later tried to deny even being in Thailand with his son and three of the teenagers’ pals from the UFF’s east Belfast junior wing, the Young Newtowns. Gray had funded the sex and drugs trip for his son and other young lads that Gray used to peddle drugs around east Belfast. However, cowardly Gray tried to claim later that he had been in Belfast at the time – as he tried to conceal his own grim child sex-secret.
And he got the UDA to play down the death, by claiming his son died because of a reaction to jabs he received before flying to Thailand.
However, Jonathan’s mother, Anne Tedford, branded her ex-husband a coward for the way he had left her son to die, while he was partying with his ‘close pal’ William James Murphy in a nearby go-go bar.
“He himself didn’t have the balls to come and tell me my son was dead,” Ms Tedford has said.
Three years later the curse would strike again when Jim Gray was shot five times by two gunmen believed to be his former UDA comrades.
And in 2008 the curse of the UDA brigadiers struck again when former north Belfast boss Andre Shoukri buried his brother Ihab following a drug overdose.
In 2011 a coroner in Belfast told the inquest into his death that the 34-year-old Ihab had died as a result of taking a cocktail of drugs.
Assistant state pathologist Dr Peter Ingram discovered morphine, codeine and diazepam in his blood after death and said the composition of the morphine led him to conclude it had been as a result of heroin use.
The levels of morphine on their own would probably not have been enough to kill Shoukri but when combined with other drugs was fatal, the pathologist added.