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12 December 2002 Edition

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Loyalist killer questioned about sectarian attack

A loyalist convicted of the murder of his girlfriend was questioned about a sectarian shooting just weeks before the killing of Julieanne Osbourne it has emerged.

Andrew Robinson, a former close associate of Johnny Adair, is said to have been a member of the UDA's notorious C Company for several years.

In December 2000, a 24-year-old Catholic from Ardoyne was shot several times by a loyalist gunman on a pillion seat of a scooter. The injured man was attacked as he sat in a car parked outside a North Belfast taxi depot.

Following the sectarian shooting, Robinson was arrested and questioned but later released without charge. A few weeks later, the 22-year-old mother of Robinson's three-year-old daughter was discovered stabbed to death at the couple's Shankill home.

Last week, Robinson was convicted of the murder, having admitted inflicting multiple stab wounds into the back and shoulder of his former partner after she threatened to end their relationship.

A relative of the dead woman described Robinson as violent and controlling and said that Julieanne had suffered terribly during their four-year relationship.

Meanwhile, another close associate of Johnny Adair has accused loyalist 'rivals' of planting a blast bomb outside his home.

John White, who was expelled from the UDA shortly after Adair several weeks ago, blamed the leadership of the East Antrim UDA for the attack and called on them to stand down. White accused the UDA faction of "turning into a gang".

24 hours after the bomb was discovered at White's Carrickfergus home, a further device was found rigged under a car belonging to UDA leader John Greg. The UDA leadership believes that attack on Greg was an act of reprisal. They described the attack as "an act of war" by Adair's unit in the Lower Shankill.

The second device, described as "sophisticated", is rumoured to have been similar to the car bomb that killed Lurgan defence lawyer Rosemary Nelson. It is also being linked to an element within the LVF close to Adair.

As for Adair himself, rumours that he intended to move to Scotland have sparked a death threat from Glasgow underworld bosses. A source from the criminal gang described Adair as "an unsophisticated greedy little back street hood".

Scotland's drug barons fear Adair's high profile would bring with it unwanted police attention and threaten the Glasgow to Belfast illegal drugs trade.

Coincidentally, a London-born drug dealer who exposed Adair's drug dealing activities within Maghaberry jail, survived a gun attack in a Belfast pub last week.

Stephen McEntee escaped injury when the gunman's weapon jammed.

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