The police officer who jailed loyalist leader Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair has hit out at the ex-UDA boss for publicly bragging about his "happy" new life.
Trevor McIlwrath, who was one of two RUC officers to provide the evidence that put Adair behind bars for directing terrorism, said many UDA victims would be "sickened" by the terrorist's boasts about his great new life in Scotland.
Adair, whose C Company thugs were linked to the sectarian murders of dozens of Catholics in Northern Ireland, yesterday told Radio Ulster's Nolan Show that he has never had a sleepless night about the devastation he and his terror group caused.
The former Shankill godfather also claimed:
• The UDA and other loyalist groups are still involved in drugs and extortion;
• That he never made any money from drug dealing or criminality;
• He is glad Martin McGuinness is in government;
• The UUP should never have walked away from the Executive.
"I don't regret what I did. I believed in what I was doing. I have no regrets whatsoever about it... I have never had a sleepless night," Adair told Stephen Nolan.
Adair was once the leader of the Lower Shankill 2nd Battalion, C Company which was linked to the killing of Catholic civilians in the early 1990s. The 50-year-old has been living in Scotland for more than a decade after he was exiled from Northern Ireland by his former UDA comrades following a feud between members of the UVF and other factions of the UDA. He lives there with girlfriend Lynne Benson - the mother of his youngest child.
Adair told the Nolan Show yesterday that the UDA was dealing drugs, procuring weapons and involved in extortion. He revealed that some businesses were paying up to £500 a week in protection money to the UDA.
"They (the UDA) are crucifying people, members of their own community... they haven't stopped extorting. Building sites in the immediate area, every single one pays protection money. In areas places like Chinese takeaways pay a hefty sum every week - between £300 and £500 per week.
"I know it for a fact. I'm still in touch with rank and file and leaders over there. That money goes into their pockets. There's no war machine. That's why they live in these luxury houses and have luxury cars and don't have a worry. They're still a pack of thugs," he said. He also said that he has never been happier.
"I'm happy where I am now. Scotland is a beautiful country. I'm happier than I have ever been. When the weight of the world is taken off your shoulders, you're leading a normal life with your girlfriend and son, going to swimmers, concerts ... it's a great life ... a happy life."
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph Mr McIlwrath, who followed Adair's every move for two years in a bid to secure a conviction against him, said many of his victims "will be sickened hearing him talk about his great life".
"There's many people in Northern Ireland who don't have a happy life because of people like him. I know what he was responsible for, I know what he did. He was into sectarian slaughter. He believed that the more innocent the Catholic, the better the target. Listening to him on the radio you'd think he was in the running for the Nobel Peace Prize," said Mr McIlwrath. He added: "I had a breakdown because of my time having to listen to Adair and others like him talking about what they had done. Listening to them and what they were involved in really messed with my head."