Prominent loyalist who fled Belfast found dead in Scotland

A prominent loyalist who fled Belfast at the height of an internal feud has been found dead in Scotland.

am ‘Skelly’ McCrory was once known as the sidekick of notorious UDA boss Johnny Adair.

The 57 year old had been living in Ayr since fleeing the Shankill area during a bloody feud in the early 2000s.

McCrory was linked to the death of South East Antrim UDA boss John ‘Grug’ Gregg, in February 2003.

He was among the UDA prisoners who met Secretary of State Mo Mowlam during a tense time in the peace negotiations.

At the time, he was serving a sentence for the attempted assassination of leading republicans Brian Gillen and Martin Lynch, having been arrested in a sting operation in July 1992.

He was the UDA officer in command at the Maze Prison at the time.

McCrory was also linked to the murder of Francisco Notarantonio, shot dead by the UDA in October 1987.

While exiled, he courted publicity and appeared in an episode of Danny Dyer’s Deadliest Men.

He also became an advocate for gay rights, and regularly attended Pride parades in the UK.

In 2015, four men were arrested in Glasgow and charged with plotting to kill to McCrory and Adair.

Charges against one of the accused was dropped, but the other three others — Antoin Duffy, Martin Hughes and Paul Sands — were convicted of the plot on 20 July 2015 and later jailed for a total of 38 years.

The circumstances of McCrory’s death are being investigated by Ayrshire Police.

Both Adair and McCrory fled across the Irish Sea after Adair tried to take control of the UDA when he was released from prison as part of the Good Friday Agreement.

The fallout led to a deadly internal UDA feud and the pair were forced from their old Shankill Road stronghold in west Belfast.

Adair eventually settled in the port town of Troon with a new girlfriend, while ex-gunman McCrory, moved to Ayrshire.

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