15 January 2006

Johnston Brown and 'Mad Dog' face off

Sunday Life

Close encounter of the fraught kind

By Stephen Gordon and Stephen Breen
15 January 2006

Former top cop Johnston Brown has had a "fraught" TV showdown with Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair - the ex-UDA godfather he had caged for directing terrorism.

The pair came face-to-face in Manchester last week for a documentary on Adair being made by award-winning reporter, Donal McIntrye.

The ex-CID man angrily accused Adair of masterminding a sick plot to kidnap one of his sons in 2000 and of ordering a bomb attack on his home - in revenge for his role in having him jailed for 16 years in 1995.

During the tense meeting, Adair boasted that he planned to return to take control of his old Shankill Road stomping ground.

"It was certainly fraught," Johnston Brown told Sunday Life.

"I expected the meeting to take place in a brightly-lit TV studio, but it took place in the Salford Boys Club, which was quite a dramatic setting, and we sat opposite each other on bar stools.

"The location was a surprise, but I've no regrets at all about meeting Adair.

"I made it clear before hand that there would be no handshakes, no pleasantries before or after the TV discussion.

"I wanted to challenge him about his unwarranted pursuit of my family, and that's what I did."

The ex-cop claimed exiled Adair had been "tongue-tied" at times during the exchanges, and had made some absurd claims.

He added: "Adair is clearly a deluded man. He talked of coming back to the Shankill and reclaiming 'C' company.

"I advised him against that. Times have changed, but he's still living in the past."

Adair denied being behind a plot to kidnap one of Mr Brown's teenage sons and ordering the bomb attack on his home.

Mr Brown said: "He told me it was 'all in my head', and also claimed Special Branch must have been involved."

In his best-selling book, Into The Dark, the ex-detective revealed harrowing details of a UFF plot to kidnap one of his sons near his Ballyclare home in 2000. He told how the thugs - on Adair's instructions - planned to kneecap the lad, tie him to a lamppost and hang a placard around his neck saying 'drug dealer'.

"I've accused members of Special Branch of some things, but I certainly wouldn't accuse them of being involved in that," said Mr Brown yesterday.

Donal McIntyre described the meeting between Adair and the ex-detective as "very tense".

"You could have cut the atmosphere with a knife," said the TV reporter.

"I think both men were facing up to their demons. There was an undercurrent of controlled aggression."

Johnny Adair last night described the meeting as "strictly business".

"I respect him (Mr Brown) as a police officer and I hold no grudges against the man, but I told him not to be taking credit for bringing me down.

"He failed to mention there were another 200 police and Army witnesses against me. I told him his book was a number one best-seller because I feature prominently in it. I also said to him that I had nothing to do with the attacks on his home or threats against his children."

But Mr Brown scoffed at Adair's remarks, saying: "I was told by the prosecution that the evidence of my CID partner and myself was absolutely central to securing Adair's conviction. Much of the other evidence against him had either been discarded or disallowed."

The ex-cop said Adair pleaded guilty rather than be humiliated at a trial in front of his UDA cronies, who would have heard how he had "run off at the mouth" to him about his terrorist activities.

The McIntyre Uncovered documentary, 'Here's Johnny', will be broadcast on Channel 5 and TV3 in around three months time.

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