06 October 2005

Gray was a tout, says killer Stone

Belfast Telegraph

'Arrogant ex-UDA boss signed his own death warrant'

By Jonathan McCambridge
06 October 2005

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Milltown murderer Michael Stone today claimed slain loyalist Jim Gray "signed his own death warrant" by becoming a supergrass prepared to betray his former UDA friends.

In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph, killer Stone - once a close associate of Gray - said the former UDA leader's arrogance and refusal to stay in prison led to him being gunned down in east Belfast this week.

Detectives are still holding six people over the murder of the flamboyant former brigadier known as 'Doris Day', who was shot five times in the back on Tuesday night.

Michael Stone, convicted of six murders, including three at Milltown Cemetery, recalled one occasion when Gray told him he "was a businessman rather than a loyalist".

Gray was at the killer's side at a loyalist rally at the UIster Hall in 1998 when Stone was on temporary release from the Maze.

When Stone was later released under the Good Friday Agreement in 2000, Gray was at the prison to greet him.

But their relationship later soured and Stone was forced to leave east Belfast as he believed Gray wanted him dead.

He said: "I knew Gray since he was young. His father is a gentleman but there was always something strange about Jim - wearing slacks and shoes with no socks, even in winter.

"I would be a hypocrite if I said I was surprised he is dead - what goes around comes around.

"He never pulled a trigger in his life but he got where he was by bullying people and ordering them around. He didn't do anything but he knew a lot.

"I know for sure he was a supergrass and that signed his death warrant. He thought by talking and giving evidence he would be allowed to hold on to some of his cash abroad.

"He once told me he was a businessman, not a loyalist. He said loyalism doesn't pay the bills.

"There will be so many suspects because Gray double-crossed just about everybody he came into contact with. Police will be looking at a long list of people. You could look at it as a bit of internal house-keeping."

Gray was stood down as UDA east Belfast commander earlier this year. Shortly afterwards he was arrested by police and charged with money laundering offences.

Stone said: "The cops lifted him for his own protection. He knew that by going on remand he would be staying alive.

"He knew it was coming but his arrogance meant he kept going for bail and when he came out he was going to bars and Chinese restaurants on the Newtownards Road right up to the end as if he owned the place.

"He got where he was by bullying and bluffing. He was never a loyalist."

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