RUTHLESS ex-INLA hitman Frankie 'Studs' Lanigan told a court that he wanted to kill the organisation's former leader Gino Gallagher.
In a signed statement he also confessed to meeting murdered drug dealer Kevin McAlorum while on the run in Dublin - two weeks before the 31-year-old was shot dead by the INLA.
Prior to being extradited back to Northern Ireland to stand trial for the murder of John Knocker outside a Dungannon hotel, which he was convicted of last Monday, Lanigan provided a Dublin court with a history of his work as a cold-blooded gunman.
This included attacks on the RUC, Army and loyalists in the 1980s and 1990s and his links to a bloody INLA feud that claimed six lives, including that of his rival Gino Gallagher and innocent eight-year-old Barbara McAlorum.
Lanigan also talked about his relationship with the slain girl's older brother Kevin McAlorum, whose 2004 murder the PSNI questioned him about last year.
In a letter to Sunday Life written from his cell at Maghaberry Prison, the 56-year-old denied involvement, saying: "I loved Kevin, he was a special friend."
But in his court affidavit, Lanigan, who was on the run in Dublin at the time, admits meeting McAlorum there two weeks before his execution.
The confession will add to suspicions held by the McAlorum family that he killed his "special friend", who topped an INLA death list, in return for the republican gang lifting a similar threat against him.
The INLA was determined to execute McAlorum because he shot dead its Belfast leader Gino Gallagher during an internal 1996 feud.
Detectives believe that Lanigan, who was part of the same defeated INLA faction as McAlorum, betrayed his pal in order to ensure his own safety.
In statements to the court, Lanigan confessed: "In 2004 I met Kevin in Dublin. Two weeks later, whilst dropping his boy to school, Kevin was dead, killed by the INLA because of Gino."
Lanigan also hinted at involvement in the murder of John Knocker, telling Irish detectives: "In May 1998 I was attacked outside the Glengannon Hotel and, arising from that, John Knocker lost his life."
What Lanigan omitted to say was that after losing a fist-fight with the 22-year-old west Belfast man, he chased him with a pistol, first shooting him in the back and then blasting him in the temple from point-blank range.
Within hours, he escaped to Dublin, living there under the assumed identity of Ciaran McCrory until his 2013 arrest and extradition back to Belfast last year.
Following his Crown Court conviction on Monday past for the Knocker murder, Lanigan now faces the prospect of a 20-year sentence and the likelihood of dying in prison.
His jailing brings to an end the bloody career of one of the most colourful yet callous killers within any Northern Irish paramilitary group.
While serving a 10-year sentence in the 1980s for conspiracy to murder police officers, Lanigan, a hairdresser by trade, bedecked his cell at Crumlin Road jail with posters of gay pop star George Michael.
He was the butt of homophobic jokes, but few prisoners were willing to take him on physically because he was a talented kickboxer who fought semi-professionally after his release.
Lanigan's court confessions shine a light on that savage reputation, revealing how he joined the Provisional IRA aged 17 and then the INLA at 19 years old.
Referring to his role in numerous gun attacks, he said: "During my teens and arising from my political outlook, I came into regular contact with Her Majesty's security forces."
He then talked about receiving £15,000 in compensation after claiming to have been tortured by police at the RUC's Castlereagh Holding Centre.
Following his release from prison in 1990, Lanigan revealed: "I rejoined the INLA. By 1991 my then friend Gino Gallagher was released from prison and we both became significant members of the INLA."
Recalling how he was repeatedly targeted by UDA boss Johnny Adair, he added: "This was a crazy time in Belfast. Nobody knew who would be killed next. At the time I was working part-time in Pat's Barbers on the Falls Road."
In September 1993 UDA assassin Stevie McKeag thought he had killed Lanigan in the shop. However, his victim was actually innocent Sean Hughes.
In his affidavit, Lanigan revealed how the INLA retaliated by attacking the RUC, Army and loyalists.
Putting himself at the centre of these murder bids, he said: "I was starting to burn out from the pace of things. I wore body armour every day and could not live a normal life.
"Most of my friends who were active INLA members were reluctant to do operations without me, asking, 'Will Frankie be there?'
"I believe it is because of my increased stature in that community that my relationship with Gino Gallagher began to diminish. I believe it was thought that I was getting too big from my boots."
Lanigan explained how he was kneecapped by the INLA as a punishment, but because the gunman was his friend Mark McNeill, who was later shot dead by the gang, he only received a flesh wound.
He was targeted again by the INLA in 1995, only this time it was a murder bid, and he suffered bullet wounds to his head and arm.
While recovering in hospital, Lanigan says he was visited by drug dealer Saul Devine, who was gunned down the following day by IRA cover group Direct Action Against Drugs (DAAD).
His opponents accuse him of setting up Devine for murder, something that relatives of his "special friend" Kevin McAlorum allege he repeated a decade later.
When McAlorum's murder of Gallagher sparked an internal INLA feud in 1996, Lanigan aligned himself with the losing 'GHQ' faction.
In his court statement he talks about how the RUC suspected him of involvement in the shooting, saying: "The RUC arrived immediately at my door. Gino and I had been sending messages to each other via the RUC. He was going to kill me and I was going to kill him."
Under threat from the INLA, Lanigan moved from the mayhem of west Belfast to Knockmore Square in Lisburn.
At the time he was suspected of leading a drug-dealing gang which sold ecstasy at the Exit 15 nightclub.
It was there in May 1998 that he shot John Knocker in the head after losing a fist-fight with him.
Lanigan fled to Dublin the next day, saying: "After I came to Dublin I changed my name for safety reasons and I moved on with my life.
"Under the name Ciaran McCrory, I was working as a self-employed barber."
The hitman ended his confessions by predicting his murder in Northern Ireland.
Lanigan said ominously: "I am likely to be murdered in Northern Ireland, either by persons associated with the INLA, IRA or some loyalist gang."