06 October 2005

Gray tricked into dropping his guard

Irish Examiner

06 October 2005
By Alan Erwin

MURDERED ex-loyalist terror boss Jim Gray was shot five times in the back after being tricked into dropping his guard, it emerged last night.
He was assassinated as he shifted weightlifting gear from the boot of a car outside his father’s home in East Belfast.

A former business associate is among four men being questioned. Two women were also held after police found gun parts in a car stopped later, security sources said.

It is believed men trusted by Gray, 47, had agreed to meet him at the house where he was ordered to live while out on bail, accused of money laundering offences.

Details emerged as the security forces prepared for the deposed Ulster Defence Association commander’s funeral in the city later this week. Police have carried out tests on five bullets fired into Gray as he stopped to remove dumb-bells.

The 6ft 3in gangster, nicknamed Doris Day because of his flamboyant love of designer clothes, bleach blonde hair and heavy tan, was a fitness fanatic. During his terror reign, he had amassed plenty of enemies, and with police probing his financial affairs, former loyalist allies were desperate to silence him.

As police chiefs blamed the UDA for murdering Gray, loyalists claimed he provoked his own death by returning to East Belfast after being freed on bail.

One said: “He was sticking two fingers up at the organisation and there’s nobody bigger than the organisation.

“Once he got out and flaunted himself, coming back to live in a community where he wreaked havoc for years, his fate was sealed.”

Even though detectives had warned him he was under threat several times since he was thrown out of the UDA in March, Chief Constable Hugh Orde stressed no protection was given to him. But police who had charged him with money laundering did fear he would be killed after he was allowed out of jail.

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