'cowering wreck' | 

Suspected UDA boss Coleman subjected to jailhouse beating

‘Inside here, he’s f**k-all. Word was sent in to have a word and teach him a lesson.’
Dee Coleman

Dee Coleman

Sunday World

Alleged UDA commander Dee Coleman has been on the wrong end of a jailhouse beating.

The alleged drugs kingpin came a cropper at the hands of James McVeigh – the snarling killer doing time at Maghaberry for the shotgun murder of Paul Smyth three years ago.

Coleman is now a marked man behind bars, according to prison insiders.

Sources say he needed hospital treatment for the injuries dished out by McVeigh and has been reduced to a cowering wreck, fearful of fresh attacks.

The suspected drug dealer was beaten to a pulp by McVeigh and insiders say this is only the start of months of hell for Dee.

Coleman is on remand for the kidnap and attempted murder of a man who was found in a field on the outskirts of Ballymena last October.

The 36-year-old was also charged with arson and drugs possession.

The charges arise after the seriously-injured victim was found lying in a field on the Lisnamurrikin Road near Broughshane shortly after his car was found alight on the Doury Road in Ballymena.

Speaking out at the time in an appeal for information, Detective Inspector Michael McCoy said he was discovered by members of the public “purely by chance”.

He said the man was found with extensive knife wounds to his chest and face, and fractures to his skull.

“If he had not been discovered when he was, he would not have survived,” he said.

Sources claim Coleman believed his big man reputation would afford him protection behind bars – only to discover that in jail he is a nobody.

Already shunned by the UDA on his old Shankill Road stomping ground where he allegedly ran the terror group’s drug operation in partnership with is old boss, convicted killer Mo Courtney, he had moved to Ballymena.

The Sunday World understands Coleman believed he was untouchable due to his reputation, however, outside sources say he is now in fear of both his safety and his life.

“He is right at the bottom of the barrel, no one likes him and this beating won’t be his last,” a source told us.

“He thought he was the big lad but he fell down badly.”

The source added that Coleman is facing a long road ahead, with prison lags determined to bring him down a peg or two.

“There are one or two people inside who want to settle old scores. Dee Coleman is not safe in here. It’s not over for him in here.”

The jail source said prison life is a world away from the days when paramilitary groups controlled the wings.

“Inside is different now, it’s not about paramilitary gangs who get status, protection – aside from the dissidents that doesn’t happen anymore.

“Dee Coleman made the mistake of believing he was someone to be feared, someone special. Those days are long gone.”

Prison sources have told us that Coleman is now terrified of his own shadow, he has encountered people, very powerful people, who are “hard nuts’’ and have absolutely no fear.

“Dee Coleman is finished inside and out, he found out very, very quickly that he is not the main man, far from it, he has sunk so low and is so desperate for friends and protection.”

Another prison source added: “Inside here, he’s f**k-all. Word was sent in to have a word and teach him a lesson.”

Coleman now faces a long hard road behind bars.

“He has a choice now, he can go into solitary confinement and prove how much of a coward he is or he keeps his head down. He’s frightened, doesn’t know what corner to pick because anyone and everyone will pick on him.

“It has been said before, this will not be the last beating Coleman gets behind bars.”

It is understood he was attacked by convicted killer James McVeigh.

The 32-year-old was jailed for 18 years for the 2019 murder of County Down man Paul Smyth.

McVeigh shot Mr Smyth (50) in the chest with a sawn-off shotgun. Mr Smyth was killed as he sat in the living room of his Coulson Avenue home in Lisburn.

Again prison sources say McVeigh is a volatile character and unpredictable, but Dee Coleman was in his sights within days, the pair often encountering each other on the landing.

Sources have claimed Coleman was attacked after he made disparaging remarks about a four-man rooftop protest at the prison.

“Coleman got a total shoeing, he was beaten almost to a pulp, maybe it’s a lesson he had to be taught but if he has any sense he will learn from it.

“He is not top dog, far from it, he believes the stories when the lads were in the Kesh, the likes of Johnny (Adair) when we had power, those days are gone.

“At the minute he is lower than an ODC (ordinary decent criminal).”

Today's Headlines

More Northern Ireland

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices