Johnny Adair 'delighted justice has been done' after murder plot trio jailed
Former UDA leader Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair declared "justice has been done" after three men who plotted to murder him in Scotland were yesterday jailed.
Anton Duffy (39), Martin Hughes (36) and Paul Sands (32) were convicted in July of conspiring to kill Adair and his right-hand man, Sam McCrory.
Following a nine-week trial at the High Court in Glasgow, Duffy and Hughes were also convicted of terrorism charges.
Duffy - the "instigator and driving force" behind the plot - was jailed for 17 years. He will be supervised for a further three years after his release.
Hughes was sentenced to 11 years' jail, while Sands was given an extended sentence involving 10 years behind bars and supervision for three years after release.
Speaking outside court, Adair said the convicted men "deserved every minute" of the sentences.
"The severity of the sentence reflects the seriousness of the charges, and I'm delighted that justice has been done," he added.
Two other men found guilty of organised crime charges were also jailed at the same hearing.
Craig Convery (37) was given nine years' jail and his associate, Gordon Brown (30), six.
Judge Lady Scott said the evidence implied that McCrory was intended to be the first victim.
Addressing all three men involved in the plot, she added: "It seems clear you callously intended to shoot or execute your victim after confronting him by surprise.
"This murderous conspiracy was long thought of and discussed by Mr Duffy whilst in prison and on leave, and it involved considerable planning by all involved."
Turning to Duffy, she said: "There is no doubt that you were the instigator and driving force behind this. I am satisfied that your intention to commit acts of terrorism was a determined one, motivated by strongly held political views and personal ambition. You conspired to murder two men in a callous way."
She added that Duffy - assessed as posing a high and imminent risk of serious harm or death to the public - had planned for and engaged in the commission of the offences while still serving a sentence for firearms convictions.
Defence counsel Derek Ogg QC told the court Duffy had struggled with a combination of mental health disorders, including severe depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety disorder.
Lady Scott said they did not, however, have a significant bearing on Duffy's culpability or the risk of harm he posed.
Of Hughes, she said he "went along with Duffy's instructions". Hughes' lawyer, Gordon Jackson QC, told the court his client had been "taken along into something" and was "not a mover by any stretch of the imagination".
Duffy was well known to the authorities on both sides of the Irish Sea. He is understood to have connections to republican terrorist groups but was not affiliated to any of the groups in particular at the time. Detective Chief Superintendent John Cuddihy, of Police Scotland, said: "Make no mistake, the intent of those who have been sentenced was to carry out a murderous terrorist attack on the streets of Scotland.
"There is no doubt that Police Scotland officers have saved the lives of two men and prevented significant negative community impact across Scotland and further afield."
Praising all those involved in bringing the case to court, he added: "Today's verdict shows that justice is not simply a concept - it is a reality."
Adair, who has survived a number of attempted assassinations, told the Sunday Life last week: "I'm a leading loyalist - I'm Johnny Adair, and I know that I will always be a target.
"I always knew that what I did would come back to bite me, and it has. I know if they had their way they would have cut me in two with that AK-47. And I understand why they would have done that."