Donegal man was "ringleader" in 'Mad Dog' murder plot

Donegal man was "ringleader" in 'Mad Dog' murder plot

A MAN from Donegal is one of three men found guilty of conspiring to murder Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair and Sam McCrory, two former leaders of loyalist terrorist group the Ulster Defence Association (UDA).

Antoin Duffy, 39, was described by Police Scotland as “the ring-leader of an unaffiliated active service unit inspired by dissident republicanism”.

Duffy, his cousin Martin Hughes, 36, and Paul Sands, 32, all denied being involved in a plot to kill Adair and McCrory.

They were convicted after a nine-week trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

The trio were arrested in October 2013 in Glasgow and Ayrshire as part of Police Scotland’s Operation Hairsplitter, which was set up to investigate an attempt to procure firearms by a gang of dissident republican sympathisers led by Duffy.

Detective Superintendent Andy Gunn, who led Operation Hairsplitter, said after the convictions: “Antoin Duffy was the main instigator of the plot to kill two men, due to his twisted ideology to further the aims of dissident republican terrorism.

'This was not sanctioned by anyone of a higher authority within those circles, but was driven by Duffy's own sympathies.

“He is a dangerous man who was determined to see this conspiracy through to its conclusion.

“I have no doubt that were it not for the intervention of the authorities in an operation led by Police Scotland, we would have been left investigating a double murder in an act of terrorism carried out in our communities.”

Judge Lady Scott deferred sentencing until next month and ordered background reports on the men, as well as a psychiatric report on Duffy.