PUP leader Hutchinson reveals murder plot
UDA terror boss Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair plotted to shoot PUP leader Billy Hutchinson while he was being interviewed on TV.
During the loyalist feud of 2000, which claimed seven lives, the ex-UVF prisoner was a prime target for UDA C Company based on Belfast's Lower Shankill.
According to Hutchinson a plan to kill him during a television interview was foiled as RUC Special Branch was bugging Adair's phone calls.
An enraged Adair phoned a UDA commander in the Woodvale district ordering him "go and shoot that f****r right now" as Hutchinson was being interviewed.
The politician explains: "On one occasion during the early days of the feud, I was being interviewed by the local television news on the Shankill Road.
"I was trying to appeal for calm, but little did I know that I was in Johnny Adair's crosshairs as I spoke to the journalist.
"It later transpired that Adair had phoned another UDA commander in the Woodvale and told him to 'Go and shoot that f****r right now, where he's standing'."
"Unaware of all of this, I later drove to a meeting in the Woodvale to talk about mediation. As I did so, the police waved our car over to the side of the road.
"They told me that they had information that my life was in immediate danger. Special Branch had been listening in on Adair's phone calls and were able to buffer his plans to have me killed.
"It was all well and good of the police to notify me of this threat, but I found it frustrating that they weren't doing more to take Adair's henchmen off the streets. He was an egomaniac who wanted to be the supreme leader of loyalism in Northern Ireland."
Hutchinson also details a UDA pipebomb attack during the same period at his heavily fortified family home off the Shankill Road in Belfast.
What his would-be killers did not know was that he was not living in the property at the time, and was instead based in a nearby flat with little protection.
In his new book My Life in Loyalism, Hutchinson reveals: "One evening shortly after things had kicked off on the Shankill, the UDA arrived at Ambleside Street and threw a pipebomb at the house.
"Fortunately, the device bounced off the living room window's reinforced glass.
"My wife's former father-in-law was in the house. He was a man in his nineties and had been incarcerated in a Japanese POW camp during the war."
Again Hutchinson blames Adair and his gang, who fled Northern Ireland for Scotland in 2003 following an internal UDA feud, on being behind the murder bid, branding him a "drug dealer".
He says: "Another thing I detested about Adair was that he was a drug dealer, and he wasn't shy about it either. Before the feud, I was driving down the Crumlin Road early one Sunday morning when I saw young lads on scooters carrying out what was obviously a drug deal. Across the road sat a police Land Rover.
"I pulled in and asked the officers why these guys weren't being arrested for dealing?"
The response Hutchinson says he was given was, 'You know better than us, Mr Hutchinson; we can't touch him. It goes higher up than us'. I was disgusted.
"Whatever Adair was doing, it was nothing to do with loyalism. He masqueraded under the banner of the UDA, but he was dealing drugs and creating turf wars that were destroying loyalist communities."
Northern Ireland Premium
Billy Hutchinson is talking about murder. He was just 18 years old when he drove the car used in the double killing of half-brothers Michael Loughran and Edward Morgan.