(by Mike Browne, The People)
October 18, 2002
Slain loyalist Geoffrey 'Greyhound' Gray was a key source for top investigative reporter Martin O'Hagan after turning informer following the death of an innocent Catholic, The People can reveal.
The LVF man, gunned down in Belfast last Friday in the ongoing UDA-LVF feud, began to feed information to O'Hagan following the brutal murder of council worker Adrian Lamph in Portadown four years ago.
Born-Again Christian Gray, and another LVF cohort, gave over information because he was "troubled" by the murder, sources have revealed. Despite being a prominent member of the LVF himself, he began to fill O'Hagan in on details of that killing and other top secret activities by loyalist terror godfathers.
Martin O'Hagan, a father of three, paid the ultimate price for writing about their criminal money making and drug scams. shot dead by the LVF in Lurgan just over a year ago as he walked home from the pub with his wife.
Gray was also a father of three from Lurgan, and was also gunned down as he made his way home after a night in a pub - this time close to his Beersbridge Road home in east Belfast. Loyalist sources claim Greyhound, who formed part of the guard of honour at Billy Wright's funeral, was shot over comments he had made in a pub the evening before his death in support of Wright.
The notorious bar, which is a known UDA haunt, has been the scene for a number of high profile attacks, including the killing of Jim Craig, in 1988, in an internal feud, and also the torture of east Belfast UDA man Geordie Legge. Its previous owner, Ned McCreery, was himself shot by Legge as part of that feud in the early 1990s.
Although Gray was originally a member of the UDA in the 1980s, he joined Billy Wright when the LVF was formed in 1996.
Now it is claimed that as Gray, who had moved to Belfast over a year ago, watched TV in the bar the night he was gunned down, he made references to new items on Billy Wright, and boasted of his friendship with the murdered LVF chief.
A source said: "Athough Greyhound had been drinking in the bar for some months, these comments were enough to seal his fate. This is the wrong type of bar to boast about Billy Wright, at this point."
Although Gray had a long reputation as a loyalist paramilitary, he had recently been 'saved' and had made his testimonial in a Portadown church, in which he paid tribute to Billy Wright and other loyalist heavyweights. Despite moving away from his LVF contacts in Lurgan and Portadown, and moving to Belfast, reliable sources say he remained close to LVF members like Ron Buchanan and Robin 'Billy' King.
Ironically, he was also known to have been close to two leading suspects in the murder of investigative reporter Martin O'Hagan, killed by the LVF last September, including one known as 'Dirty Macker.' But in his testimony, he claimed Wright, who portrayed himself locally as a born-again preacher, as well as loyalist killer, had made him a born-again Christian and taken him away from 'a vicious life of para-militaries and drink.' He also claimed Wright was a "misunderstood and grossly misrepresented" man.
The People can reveal that Gray said in his 'testimony': "Billy Wright influenced me greatly even as a backslider on the things of God.
He went on: "I learned from Billy Wright how important the word of God was and is and learned to respect the things of God."
Although Gray had a criminal record for theft and damage to property, he avoided paramilitary convictions, despite having at one point being charged in connection with arms found at Drumcree. In the testimony he admits he was never convicted in a court of law for other "sinful acts" which he committed.
Other "Godly influences" in his life were the Marno brothers, Don and Gary Marno, the well-known Ulster drug chiefs.
However, according to one source, Gray had been troubled by his past
The source revealed: "He and another close friend contacted O'Hagan after the killing of Adrian Lamph, and told all they knew about it.
"Both men were religious, and felt bad about the killing of Lamph." Lamph was an innocent Catholic father of one, who was working in Portadown council yards when an LVF gunman on a bicycle shot him dead four years ago, before disappearing down a number of backstreets. The gunman has never been charged, and is believed to have fled Ulster.
Other associates of Gray include an elderly LVF supporter known as Supergran.
The UDA feud with the LVF began a month ago, after tensions between the rival groups in the area led to the slaying of top LVF member Stephen Warnock in east Belfast, and the retaliatory attack on UDA boss Jim Gray who was shot in the face. The attacks sparked the feud in which the UDA council expel west Belfast UDA members Johnny Adair and Johnny White, over their alleged links to the LVF.
Although there had been a number of unsuccessful shootings in the city, reliable sources say that Gray's murder was a result of those current loyalist tensions. Police attributed the 'Greyhound' murder to the ongoing feud.
Meanwhile a man who some cops say is wanted for questioning about the LVF murder of journalist Martin O'Hagan last year - and who they claim was living outside Ulster - was seen in Lurgan town centre last Sunday. LVF insiders admit that while the man owns property in Scotland, Amsterdam and Spain, he still lives in Lurgan.
This article appeared in the October 13, 2002 edition of the The People.