04 December 2005

Doris stole my art!

Sunday Life

Stone tells asset cops he wants his paintings back

By Stephen Breen
04 December 2005

GRAVEYARD killer Michael Stone was last night at the centre of a row with the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) over two mystery £20,000 paintings.

The Milltown murderer told Sunday Life the two items - completed during his time in the Maze Prison - were stolen by murdered crime boss Jim 'Doris Day' Gray.

Stone claims Gray took the paintings from one of his former business associates in 2002, after the former UFF hitman was accused of 'treason'.

The killer-turned-artist claims he was living away from Northern Ireland when the paintings were taken.

He has now instructed his solicitor to ask ARA chief Alan McQuillan if his agency knows of the whereabouts of the paintings.

Stone made the request after Gray's assets - worth around £200,000 - were frozen by the ARA last month.

His assets included an interest in a house at Knockwood Park in the Clarawood Estate, proceeds from a Northern Bank draft for 10,000 euro, a BMW M5, £3000 cash, money held in several bank accounts, pensions, insurance policies and an 18-carat gold bracelet.

Stone claims his paintings may have been given to one of Gray's close pals as a "present".

Said the cemetery killer: "Gray was off his head on cocaine and he believed I was trying to take over in east Belfast.

"When I was out of the country he approached a former business associate of mine and told him the UDA was taking the paintings because I had been accused of treason.

"The business associate didn't know what to do because Gray ruled through fear in east Belfast at the time.

"I was determined to see Gray before his killing but as I'm not going to get the chance now, I want the ARA to tell me where they are. They belong to me."

Added an ARA spokeswoman: "No paintings were mentioned in the High Court and if Michael Stone contacts the ARA, we will deal with it.

"This is only the first stage of the investigation relating to Jim Gray and we don't comment on individual cases.

"There will be further enquiries into the origins of the frozen assets and into the existence of any unidentified assets, with the intention of applying for a recovery order in due course."

Gray was shot at his father's house on Tuesday, October 4 while he was on bail on money laundering charges.

The murdered gangster's finances were among the first five cases handed to the Assets Recovery boss Alan McQuillan in 2003.

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