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6 October 2005 Edition

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Unionist feuding claims life of former UDA boss

Ousted unionist paramilitary boss Jim Gray was shot dead at his home in East Belfast at around 8pm on Tuesday 4 September. Gray was hit at least five times in the head and body by two gunmen at the door of his father's house in Knockwood Park, a short distance from PSNI headquarters at Garnerville. The killers are believed to have been lying in wait outside the house for Gray to return and shot the 47-year old former 'brigadier' as he got out of his silver car.

Gray was living in the house as part of his bail conditions after being released from Maghaberry Prison three weeks ago. He was awaiting trial on money laundering charges and possessing the proceeds of crime, including extortion.

In April, just over a week after being deposed as the so-called 'brigadier' of the UDA in East Belfast, Gray was stopped along with his partner Sharon Moss, near Banbridge, County Down. The PSNI allegedly found a bank draft for €10,000 and nearly £3,000 in cash in his car, which they believe was heading for the 26 Counties.

Gray, who was also notorious as a drugs supplier, was released from jail on Thursday 15 September on £15,000 bail. The Assets Recovery Agency and PSNI successfully applied for his substantial financial assets to be frozen.

Gray had many enemies and his killing is believed to have been carried out by former bedfellows in the UDA as they believed he was about to inform on the UDA drugs empire in return for a lighter sentence. It has also been reported that he acted as a long-term agent under the protection of the PSNI Special Branch. He survived a previous murder bid when he was shot in the face during internecine feuding between loyalist paramilitaries in 2002.

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