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Familiar faces waiting to greet Shoukri in Maghaberry prison

(Irish News)

North Belfast UDA 'brigadier' Andre Khaled Shoukri, who was jailed yesterday (Tuesday) for six years, can be certain of seeing some familiar faces in Maghaberry – his older brother Ihab and former associate Johnny Adair are both already in the Co Antrim prison.

Despite claiming that he was in possession of a pistol and ammunition because he feared an attempt on his life by Adair, 26-year-old Shoukri, has a long association with the Shankill man.

At one time described as Adair's protegee, it was Shoukri who was chosen to replace north Belfast UDA 'brigadier' Jim Simpson in 2002.

Simpson had been among those who greeted Adair on his release from Maghaberry in May 2002.

However, within weeks Adair had replaced him with the younger loyalist known as 'the Egyptian'.

Shoukri's mother is from Northern Ireland, but his father is Egyptian.

The 26-year-old has already served two-and-a-half years for extorting money from a north Belfast restaurant owner, and in 1998 served eight months for the unlawful and malicious wounding of 19-year-old Gareth Parker.

Mr Parker, an up and coming tennis champion, died after being accidentally struck by a car as he lay on the road following the assault.

In July 2002 Shoukri was one of the UDA's representatives, along with Adair, who met then Secretary of State John Reid.

However, his allegiance to Adair wavered during the most recent loyalist feud, which was a falling-out among the UDA.

During this feud LVF leader Stephen Warnock was shot dead and the following night, September 14, 2002, east Belfast UDA 'brigadier' Jim Grey was shot in the face as he left the Warnock home.

Despite a warning from the UDA, Adair, Shoukri and John White attended Warnock's funeral on September 15.

Ten days later Adair and White were informed of their expulsion from the UDA.

Within days, Andre Shoukri was arrested in a car leaving the loyalist Rathcoole estate in possession of a pistol and ammunition.

Adair and Ihab both attended Shoukri's first court appearances, but the association was soon ended as the Shoukris distanced themselves from the ousted loyalist.

Andre, however, will be reunited with Ihab and fellow loyalist Mo Courtney in Maghaberry.

Both have been charged with the murder last month of 21-year-old Alan McCullough, a former associate of Johnny Adair.

Meanwhile, Adair himself remains in isolation.

July 3, 2003

This article appeared first in the July 2, 2003 edition of the Irish News.

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