Belfast Telegraph

Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair's Hallion Battalion - where are they now?

By Ciaran Barnes

The death of Jonathan Adair from a drugs overdose is the latest curse to befall members of a young sectarian gang his father Johnny Adair shaped in his own image.

Known as the ‘Hallion Battalion’, the UDA unit was being groomed to eventually take over ‘C Company’ from the shaven-headed terror boss.

But its members are now either in the grave, prison or exiled from their former lower Shankill power base.

Not a single one of these UDA ‘young guns’ was present at Adair Jnr’s funeral in Scotland.

Instead it was left to the terror gang’s old-timers like ‘Skelly’ McCrory and John White to bury their pal Johnny Adair’s oldest child.

Sunday Life today looks at what became of the ‘Hallion Battalion’s’ leading members, and how their associations with Adair led each to either prison, exile or an early death.

Jonathan Adair as a teenager

JONATHAN ADAIR: Died of a drugs overdose one day after being freed from prison for motoring offences.

At the time of his death the 32-year-old was awaiting trial on drugs charges.

He had previous convictions for heroin dealing and wrecking the home of a woman who refused to sell him cannabis.

Jonathan fled the Shankill Road in 2003 after his father’s  ‘C Company’ faction was purged by the mainstream UDA.

He was being groomed for a senior role in the unit and had been pictured for a UFF calendar wearing a balaclava and carrying a machine-gun. A year earlier he was kneecapped by the terror gang for hitting a woman during a filling station robbery and breaking into the home of a pensioner.

n grab of Wi_2.jpg
William Hill

WILLIAM HILL:  A violent ‘C Company’ member who hero-worshipped Johnny Adair and ended up being convicted of murder.

The 32-year-old is due for release in the new year after serving a minimum 13-year life sentence for beating chef David Cupples to death outside the old Girdwood Army barracks.

Hill, who had spent the night taking drugs and drinking in a ‘C Company’ shebeen, mistook his victim for a Catholic.

Popular David was walking along Clifton Park Avenue for an early morning shift when he was set upon by the frenzied sectarian thug.

Hill beat the innocent Protestant with a brick, and the following day threatened staff at a nearby service station to delete CCTV footage that recorded him at the premises the night before.

After the UDA thug was jailed it emerged he had carried out pipe-bomb attacks on the north Belfast office of SDLP politician Alban Maginness and the home of rival loyalist John ‘Grugg’ Gregg.

y Life News _4.jpg
Wayne and Benji Dowie

WAYNE AND BENJI DOWIE: The brothers were among two-dozen Johnny Adair loyalists who fled the Shankill when his faction was exiled by the UDA in February 2003.

Two years later Wayne, 36, was cleared of the UDA feud murder of Jonathan Stewart during a Christmas party in north Belfast.

The 2002 killing was carried out by a ‘C Company’ gunman because the victim was related to a loyalist who had fallen out with Adair.

His brother Benji, 35, was jailed for five years in 2004 for conspiracy to sell crack cocaine and heroin alongside Jonathan Adair.

Despite their associations with ‘C Company’ resulting in them being exiled from Northern Ireland, the Dowie brothers remain in awe of Adair.

In 2003 Wayne Dowie told reporters: “From when I’ve been growing up he’s been the biggest loyalist in my eyes. As Ulster’s young men we looked up to Johnny. We idolised him.”

Alan McCullough

ALAN ‘BUCKY’ McCULLOUGH: His body was found in a shallow grave at Mallusk in June 2005 two months after he left a safe house in Bolton to return to the Shankill Road.

The 21-year-old, who idolised Johnny Adair, was among the ‘C Company’ members who fled their Belfast home in February 2003 after being attacked by the mainstream UDA.

He moved to the north-east of England, but was unable to settle and sought assurances from the UDA that he would be safe if he  returned to Northern Ireland.

Within a month of moving back to the Shankill McCullough disappeared. The body of the dad-of-one was discovered one month later.

Leading UDA member Mo Courtney — a former close friend of Johnny Adair — was convicted of the manslaughter of McCullough and sentenced to eight years in prison.

n UDA Murderer.jpg
UDA Killer Andrew Robinson

ANDREW ROBINSON: The knife maniac is serving a minimum 20-year life sentence for the horrific murder of his fiancée Julie-Ann Osbourne in 2000.

The 38-year-old stabbed his helpless girlfriend 50 times and left her body impaled to the floor of their Shankill Terrace home.

Robinson slaughtered Julie-Ann, 22, because she threatened to leave him and take their baby daughter Melissa with her.

At the time of the killing the thug was a ‘C Company’ enforcer who treated Johnny Adair as a god-like figure.

Robinson — who had an appalling record of domestic violence against his partner — was tasked with carrying out punishment attacks for the UDA.

He was behind bars when Adair’s faction fled the Shankill in 2003.

However, he will not be able to return there when he is freed from prison such is the revulsion towards him for murdering Julie-Ann.

day Life Use O.jpg
Dee Coleman

DEE COLEMAN: The only member of Johnny Adair’s ‘Hallion Battalion’ who is still with the mainstream UDA.

The 32-year-old was behind bars when his then he ro was forced from the Shankill by the mainstream UDA.

But rather than join him in Scotland on his release, Coleman opted to remain in Northern Ireland within the ranks of the terror organisation.

Coleman’s stint in a juvenile jail came about after he was convicted of involvement, aged just 14, in a UDA gun attack on rival UVF supporters during the 2000 loyalist feud.

He was caged again in 2007, this time for six years, for trying to extort £5,000 from an undercover policeman who he thought was a builder.

Coleman, who is currently the UDA’s second-in-command on the lower Shankill, wed two weeks ago in a lavish ceremony.


Belfast Telegraph Digital


From Belfast Telegraph