Category: Archive

Second gunman exposed

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The second gunman is nicknamed Skelly, a man who in the late 1980s and early 90s was one of the loyalist groups top hit men, with eight or nine hits down to his credit.
This guy was the main player, the source said. He was a very active member and got deeply involved with everything that went on.
Skelly was close to Johnny Mad Dog Adair, who later became head of C company. In 1994, Skelly was arrested with weapons on Finaghy Road North near West Belfast en route to assassinate a high-ranking member of the IRA. He was released under the auspices of the Good Friday agreement. He moved to Scotland where he worked on recruitment for the UDA. He is known to have returned to Northern Ireland on occasion, and may have been involved in the recent feud between Adairs C company and the rest of the UDA. That feud led to the rearrest of Adair and the expulsion in February of most of his supporters from their stronghold on the Lower Shankill Road.
Sources say that Skelly was one of up to 13 UDA men who took part in the Finucane operation, which was carried out on the evening of Feb. 12, 1989. It has become the most controversial killing in the history of the Northern Ireland conflict because of allegations of collusion between members of the security forces and some of those involved in the murder.
Sir John Stevens, head of the London Metropolitan Police, who has been investigating the killing and allegations of collusion for 14 years, said in January that what we did find was that the vast majority of people we arrested [in connection with the murder] were actually informers. Two of the most prominent were Brian Nelson, who collected intelligence on Finucane, and William Stobie, who supplied the weapons for the shooting. Nelson was convicted on conspiracy charges in 1992; Stobie was shot dead after charges against him were dismissed at a trial late in 2001.
Barrett was also an informer for the Royal Ulster Constabulary Special Branch and appeared in a BBC television documentary on the Finucane murder a year ago, during which he described his role in the shooting. He has since claimed that he is being used as a scapegoat by the British government. Last year, some loyalist sources refuted his earlier claims that he was one of the two hit men. One said he was the driver in the getaway car.
The operation was a major one for the UDA. Those involved all belonged to C company, which had a reputation as the most violent in the UDA. The company was subdivided in smaller teams. Two teams known as C-17 and C-13 carried out the killing.
C-13 and C-17 were themselves divided into four Active Service Units for the hit. One ASU was responsible for doing a trial run, which took place some weeks before the murder, and on the night of the killing was employed as a backup. Another consisted of planners and a shooter. The third ASU consisted of four members — two shooters (including Skelly) who were knowledgeable about the victim and carried out the murder, and two others, one of whom was also a shooter used to cover the hit men when they entered the house, while the fourth member was the getaway car driver. The fourth ASU contained three members who were responsible for clean up, handling and disposal of weapons. The activists in this team — all in their teens — were arrested several months after the murder and charged with possession of one of the weapons — a 9mm-P Browning.
Said a loyalist source: There are people out there that were involved that did not even get lifted. He also said that there were members of the ASUs whose identity was unknown to other members.
The shooters were young men in their early 20s at the time. The planners were senior UDA men, including Winkie Dodds and another man who was a founding member of the organization and has been involved with it since 1971. He is based in the Shankill area (where C company is based) where he teaches bomb-making skills to new recruits.
After a successful hit, it was customary to give the shooters between

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