Assassin ordered to use machine gun in £75k hit on feared Loyalist mob boss Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair
Oct 31 2010 Exclusive by Steve Smith, Sunday Mail
A PLOT to execute terror chief Johnny "Mad Dog" Adair has been smashed days before the hitman was due to strike.
Our investigators uncovered the plan - which put a s75,000 price on the head of the former Loyalist kingpin - and passed the chilling details of the plot to detectives.
Within hours of us passing on our intelligence, police moved to warn Adair.
Two uniformed officers visited Adair at his home in Ayrshire on Friday night.
They went there to to deliver a so-called Osman warning, in which targets of credible hit plots are warned their lives could be in danger.
We can reveal the hitman had already tested a lethal Heckler & Koch sub-machine gun ahead of the planned attack.
And the would-be assassin told friends: "I could do it with a handgun but they're not taking any chances - they said they want him cut in half."
The violent ex-con - who cannot be identified for legal reasons - said that he had been promised s75,000 to carry out the hit.
Sources in Strathclyde Police - to whom we passed our intelligence on the gunman - last night confirmed that the threat was being taken seriously.
One police source said: "There are elements of this claim which are highly credible and it is being investigated as a matter of urgency."
Officers from the major crime and terrorism investigation unit launched an inquiry after we passed on detailed information from underworld sources about the assassination plot.
The plan is understood to be the latest in a series of threats made against the former Ulster Freedom Fighters chief, who was forced to flee Northern Ireland in fear of his life.
Associates of the man hired to kill Adair claim he was close to carrying out the deadly mission.
The hitman boasted to friends that he had already tested the Heckler & Koch on Glasgow's Knightswood golf course within the past two weeks.
A source said: "Apparently, he fired once at some trees on the course in the dead of night as a test run.
"But the weapon then jammed so it is away being repaired.
"He would have been quite happy to do the job with a pistol but whoever's behind this said it had to be the machine gun because it's Johnny Adair.
"They don't want any chances - they want no doubt.
"From what's being said, as soon as the gun is functioning again, the hit is back on.
"To be honest, if the gun hadn't jammed, Johnny Adair could well be dead by now.
"This guy is a serious man and highly dangerous - he's a psycho who wouldn't flinch at a job like this. He will never say who's behind this whole plan. But it's obviously some gangster with lots of cash and a real determination to get rid of Adair."
Another source close to the hitman said he had been promised s10,000 of the assassination fee up front just before carrying out the shooting, with the remainder being paid afterwards . The associate added: "It's a lot of money but there is a lot at stake.
"This is a major job which would have serious consequences in Britain and Ireland.
"He maybe says he's living the quiet life in Ayrshire now, but Johnny Adair is still a huge target with enemies on both sides.
"He's as hated by many Loyalists as he is the Republicans. He's not short of people who would like to see him dead."
A spokesman for Strathclyde Police said of the assassination plot last night: "We are acting on information passed to us and inquiries are continuing."
The hired hitman is a convicted armed robber who has served several years in jail for a string of violent assaults.
He was a close associate of Irish republican and notorious Glasgow fence John Lynch, who died of cancer in 2006.
Lynch, whose pub The Old Barns, in Calton, Glasgow, was bombed by Scots members of the UVF in 1979, was well known for handling stolen goods and his links to militant Irish republicanism.
In defiance, Lynch later returned the historic pub to its original name of The Old Burnt Barns.
Nine UVF members headed by"Big Bill" Campbell were jailed.
Lynch's wife Susan told the High Court in Glasgow that punters in the pub carried on drinking even though the blast brought down the ceiling.
The associate said of the gunman: "He's done a lot of jobs in the past and was very close to John Lynch.
"He's known as a ruthless hired hand who's not afraid to get involved in other people's problems."
German gun-builders Heckler & Koch supply weapons to elite units throughout the world, including crack SAS troops and US Navy Seals.
The current model of MP5 submachine gun, used by British armed police, is one of the world's deadliest weapons, capable of firing up to 900 rounds a minute.
Adair, who celebrated his 47th birthday this week, remains one of the most recognisable faces from Northern Ireland's bloody past.
He commanded the brutal C Company of the UFF, a cover name used by the Ulster Defence Association for acts of terrorism.
Detectives believe Adair and his men were responsible for up to 40 killings in the three years he was a UDA commander up to 1994.
He was jailed in 1995 for 16 years for directing terrorism.
He was released in 1999 under the Good Friday Agreement but was eventually booted out of the UDA and became a hate figure for loyalists.
Adair was returned to prison for breaching his release licence in 2003 but finally freed two years later.
He first joined his then wife Gina and other family in Lancashire before moving to Troon, where he now lives in a penthouse flat.
Johnny Adair has survived 13 previous death threats - and yesterday shrugged off the latest plot to kill him.
The 47-year-old loyalist branded those behind the threat fools, saying: "It's not very smart to let people know you're planning to commit murder before it's happened."
Adair added: "Threats against me are nothing new.
"I've had plenty of those over the years and it's like water off a duck's back. But I will say that whoever is behind this threat sounds like a fool."
Adair confirmed that police visited his home on Friday night and issued an offical warning - known as an Osman.
However, officers were unable to give him details of the plot.
He said: "It could be some idiot with nothing better to do with their time. It's easy for guys like that to shout their mouth off about me because people know me and know my background.
"But if the threat against me is serious then whoever is behind it are amateurs because everyone knows about it now.
"That's not clever at all.
"There's been hardly any trouble since I moved to Scotland. I want to keep it that way."
In 2003, months after Adair was expelled from the UDA, his former pal John "Grugg" Gregg - one of the leaders who threw him out - was shot dead when he returned to Belfast from a Rangers match in Glasgow