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Brutal shooting Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair denies he had role in murder of innocent teenager gunned down by UFF

Damien (17) died when UFF gunmen pounced as he was locking up the unit where he worked at the Dairy Farm Shopping Centre in Belfast

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Former UFF Brigadier Jonny Adair denies he knows who killed Damien Walsh

Former UFF Brigadier Jonny Adair denies he knows who killed Damien Walsh

Former UFF Brigadier Jonny Adair denies he knows who killed Damien Walsh

Former loyalist terror chief Johnny ‘Mad Dog’ Adair last night denied he had any role in the murder of an innocent Catholic teenager gunned down by a UFF gang.

The one-time UFF Brigadier and ‘C Coy’ commander said Damien Walsh should not have lost his life.

Damien (17) died when UFF gunmen pounced as he was locking up the unit where he worked at the Dairy Farm Shopping Centre near Twinbrook in west Belfast on March 25 1993.

One man waited outside brandishing a .357 Magnum pistol, while another gunman approached a man working at the depot, but his weapon jammed as he tried to shoot him in the head.

The man made a run for it and Damien ran also. But Damien was cut down by gunfire and as he was lying on the ground, his killer fired several more times.

The other man escaped and later gave evidence at Damien’s inquest.

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Damien Walsh

Damien Walsh

Damien Walsh

 

Since the tragic killing 28 years ago, rumours have been rife that Stevie ‘Top Gun’ McKeag was Damien Walsh’s killer.

No one has been convicted for the horrendous murder. And there has been continued speculation that the second gunman – the one who covered the killer – is a long-term police informant.

This week, following a Police Ombudsman’s report into the murder, Damien’s mum Marian called on Adair to “stand up, man up and let us know what happened and who was involved”.

Last night Johnny Adair told the Sunday World from exile in Scotland: “I actually don’t know who killed young Damien Walsh, but I can tell his mother who it wasn’t. It wasn’t Stevie McKeag.”

“I can tell you that for a fact. There was a lot of loyalist activity around that time with shooting incidents almost every day. And people often put the blame for shootings onto Stevie McKeag.”

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‘Top Gun’ McKeag was a feared ‘C Coy’ gunman responsible for some of the most vicious murders of the Troubles.

Police believe McKeag personally killed at least 12 people over a 10-year period. He died of a suspected drugs overdose in his north Belfast home in 2000.

But last night McKeag’s former UFF boss Adair insisted McKeag was not the gunman who killed Damien.

“I was well known as the UFF Brigadier and the man who commanded ‘C Coy’ in particular. ‘C Coy’ was very much linked with me.

“But I wasn’t involved in every single military action and the Damien Walsh shooting was one of those. I knew nothing about it. I definitely wasn’t involved,” Adair insisted.

“I can categorically state Stevie McKeag wasn’t involved in the murder of Damien Walsh and that’s a fact.

“Obviously my heart goes out to the young fella’s family. He was a human being and he didn’t deserve to die in the way he did.

“But the truth of the matter is, young Damien Walsh died as a result of the failure of politics in this country.”

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Damien Walsh’s mum Marian with the Ombudsman’s report

Damien Walsh’s mum Marian with the Ombudsman’s report

Damien Walsh’s mum Marian with the Ombudsman’s report

 

And the former terror chief added: “I just wish the Good Friday Agreement had been signed 10 years before. If it had been, Damien Walsh would still be alive today.”

Adair (57) – who was convicted of directing terrorism and jailed for 16 years – went on to address the thorny issue of collusion between loyalist paramilitaries and members of the security forces.

“Let me say this clearly so there is no doubt, the RUC Special Branch did not influence anything in ‘C Coy’. They hated me.

“And neither did the CID. They both hated me, but mainly the Special Branch.

“So that left the Army. The ordinary squaddie had absolutely nothing against me. As far as they were concerned, I was fighting the IRA.

“But the 14th Intelligence Unit of the British Army was a different story. They had 24-hour surveillance on me.

“On two separate occasions 14th Intelligence tried to assassinate me. They very nearly succeeded. I came within an inch of being killed.

“In this report there’s talk of surveillance of people like me. That may well have been the case. But I was aware of security force surveillance and I took steps to counteract it.

“I’m not saying it didn’t happen at all, but collusion is a greatly exaggerated thing in relation to the Troubles.”

In her report into Damien Walsh’s murder, Police Ombudsman Marie Anderson said there were “significant investigative failures” and evidence of “collusive behaviours” in relation to the murder.

And the report states that in early 1993, the RUC had conducted surveillance on ‘C Company’ and one of its prominent members, Person A, and had used disruption tactics to frustrate their attempts to murder nationalists in west Belfast.

Person A is suspected of being Johnny Adair.

Intelligence suggested that these activities were proving effective. In the month before Damien’s murder, police received intelligence that Person A was being frustrated by increased police activity.

The report says: “On 22 March 1993, (three days before Damien Walsh’s murder) police initiated surveillance on Person C at 12:00pm, having received intelligence suggesting he was planning an attack ordered by Person A.”

Surveillance of ‘C Coy’ was stopped later that day and wasn’t resumed until eight days later and in the intervening period ‘C Coy’ went on an orgy of sectarian violence, murdering two men.

Within weeks of Damien Walsh’s death it became known police were providing information to loyalists about individuals in west Belfast, one of whom was Damien.

Adair was granted early release from prison under the Good Friday Agreement.

But believing he played a major role in an internecine feud between the UDA and the UVF in August 2000, his licence was revoked and he was returned to jail.

On his release, Adair left and settled on the Ayrshire coast where Ulster loyalists still enjoy a lot of support.

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