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The Rise & Fall of UDA Brigadier of Bling James Gray – AKA ” Doris Day”

The Rise & Fall of UDA Brigadier of Bling James Gray 

 

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AKA ” Doris Day”

James Gray (1958 – 4 October 2005), known as Jim Gray, was a Northern Irish loyalist and the East Belfast brigadier of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), the largest Ulster loyalist paramilitary organisation in Northern Ireland.

He was often nicknamed “Doris Day” for his flamboyant clothing, jewellery, and dyed blond hair. Another media nickname for Gray was the “Brigadier of Bling”. He was the owner of several bars in East Belfast.

 

Jim Gray

 

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Jim Gray
Birth name James Gray
Nickname(s) “Doris Day”
Born 1958
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Died 4 October 2005 (aged 46–47)
East Belfast, Northern Ireland
Allegiance Ulster Defence Association (UDA)
Rank Brigadier
Unit East Belfast Brigade
Conflict The Troubles

 

 – Disclaimer –

The views and opinions expressed in these pages/documentaries are soley intended to educate and provide background information to those interested in the Troubles of Northern Ireland. They in no way reflect my own opinions and I take no responsibility for any inaccuracies or factual errors.

Early life

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Gray, the son of James and Elizabeth Gray, was born in 1958 and raised a Protestant in East BelfastHe had one sister, Elizabeth. He left school at age 15 and had ambitions of becoming a professional golfer, playing off a handicap of three.

He briefly worked at the Short Brothers‘ factory but did not hold the job long as he was heavily involved in petty crime with the Tartan gangs prevalent in loyalist areas at the time.

Ulster Defence Association

According to an interview in the Sunday World with his ex-wife Anne Tedford, to whom a youthful Gray was married for four years (a marriage that produced one son, Jonathan), Gray joined the loyalist paramilitary Ulster Defence Association (UDA) when she was in maternity hospital. She claimed that Gray was offered a lift home by a near-neighbour, Gary Matthews, who was already a UDA member, and that Matthews had Gray sworn in as a member soon afterwards.

He eventually rose to become brigadier of the East Belfast Brigade, taking over after Ned McCreery was killed by the UDA in 1992.

 

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Who killed UDA Boss?

 

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Brigadier

Nicknamed “Doris Day” and the “Brigadier of Bling”, Gray, who was 6’3″ in height, became known as the most flamboyant leader in the UDA with his dyed blond bouffant hair, permanent suntan, gold earring, ostentatious jewellery, and expensive pastel clothing.

 

 

In their book UDA – Inside the Heart of Loyalist Terror, journalists Henry McDonald and Jim Cusack described him as “looking more like an ageing New Romantic” than the leader of a paramilitary organisation.

He once attended a UDA meeting with the Secretary of State for Northern IrelandJohn Reid wearing a loud Hawaiian-print shirt with a pink jumper draped over his shoulders.

A heavy cocaine user, Gray made large amounts of money from selling drugs, protection racketeering, and extortion.

Gray’s criminal empire was reported to have made him one of the richest brigadiers in UDA history. He also acquired several bars in his native east Belfast. One of these, the “Avenue One” in Templemore Avenue, he used as the headquarters for his substantial criminal empire. He lived in an expensive luxury flat in an exclusive private residence and was protected by a devoted gang dubbed “the Spice Boys”.

 

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Rangers 3 Celtic 2…Amazing Penny Arcade & Blue Sea Of Ibrox

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A supporter of Rangers, Gray was reported as knowing a number of players personally and meeting them during his regular visits to Ibrox Park

Renowned for his violent temper, he once allegedly brutally beat then stomped on a man’s head during an outdoor Rod Stewart concert at Stormont in full view of the audience. On another occasion, he violently attacked a man with a golf club after the latter had beaten him in a game of golf. For that assault, Gray was barred from the Ormeau Golf Club.

He had allegedly ordered the killing of his predecessor McCreery, whom he accused of being a police informer. Gray then took over his brigade and one of his pubs. In January 2001, the gunman, Geordie Legge met a grisly end, allegedly at the hands of Gray and his henchmen. Legge had reportedly denounced Gray’s organised criminal racket and tried to interfere with Gray’s lucrative drug-dealing, and he was repeatedly tortured and stabbed to death inside “The Bunch of Grapes”, another of Gray’s east Belfast pubs.

 

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After the killing, Legge’s body was placed in a carpet and dumped outside Belfast. Legge’s knife wounds were so severe that his head was almost severed from the body. The pub was set on fire to eliminate the signs of the torture that had been carried out inside. Gray was one of the mourners who attended Legge’s funeral. 

Gray and his right-hand man Gary Matthews, who co-owned the Bunch of Grapes, sought to claim on their insurance for the pub fire and sued AXA when they refused to pay out. Gray and Matthews were eventually forced to drop the case as the judge did not accept their version of events surrounding the fire and AXA successfully argued that they had not disclosed their UDA membership when they took out the policy.

The following year on 13 September 2002, Gray was shot in the face by UDA rivals; the plastic surgery to repair the considerable facial injuries cost £11,000. The shooting, which was blamed on West Belfast Brigadier Johnny Adairhad been described by the police as “loosely related” to the death of Stephen Warnock, a Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) leader, in one of the loyalist feuds.

 

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Adair had previously started a whispering campaign against both Gray and John Gregg of the UDA South East Antrim Brigade, claiming both men were to be stood down as part of his attempts to take full control of the UDA.

As part of this Adair, who was close to the LVF, had visited the Warnock family and suggested that Gray had been involved in their relative’s death (which had actually been carried out by a hired Red Hand Commando gunman after Warnock refused to pay a drug debt to a North Down businessman).

As a result, Gray was shot by a lone gunman after he left the Warnock home, where he had been paying his respects to the deceased. On 25 September, Gray discharged himself from the Ulster Hospital to attend a meeting of all the brigadiers bar Adair at which he, John Gregg, Jackie McDonaldBilly McFarland and Andre Shoukri found Adair guilty of treason for his role in Gray’s shooting and released a press statement to the effect that Adair was expelled from the UDA.

 Two weeks after the attack, Gray flew to Tenerife for a holiday.[citation needed] He allegedly owned property in Spain.

Gray’s son, Jonathan, died of a drugs overdose in 2002 while with his father on holiday in Thailand. An October 2005 report by the Belfast Telegraph claimed that Jim Gray was bisexual and would regularly take holidays to Thailand to have sex with teenage boys.

 

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Loyalists Episode

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Expulsion and arrest

Gray was expelled by the UDA leadership in March 2005, for “treason” and “building a criminal empire outside the UDA”, according to the South Belfast brigadier, Jackie McDonald. It was suggested that Gray was a Special Branch informer who passed on information to the police about his friends and associates.

In April that year, he was arrested whilst driving; several thousand pounds were found in the car, and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) believed he was intending to travel to the Republic of Ireland with what they suspected to be the proceeds of drug dealing and extortion. Gray was charged with money laundering, and held in custody until September when he was released on bail.

During this time, police raids on a number of locations brought in thousands of documents related to this investigation. At the same time the prominent Belfast estate agent Philip Johnston was also arrested under suspicion of money laundering.

Gray was replaced as head of the UDA East Belfast Brigade by Jimmy Birch.

Shooting death

Gray was shot five times in the back and killed outside his father’s house in the east Belfast Clarawood estate on 4 October 2005, by two unknown gunmen. The shooting took place at 8 p.m. while he was unloading weight-lifting equipment from the boot of his silver Mini Cooper.

As his body lay on the front lawn, local people took photos and passed the news to others via their mobile phones.

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According to Gray’s father, his son had left the house after Gary Matthews arrived to give him a set of weights and cigarettes that he had bought for Gray in Spain. Shots rang out and when Gray’s father went out to see what had happened he found his son had been shot and Matthews was ringing for an ambulance.

The involvement of other loyalist factions was suspected, fueling speculation that he was murdered to prevent him making an agreement with the police to expose his former associates in the UDA. Six people were arrested on suspicion of involvement in the murder,

Ultimately however no charges were brought with the investigating officer, Detective Inspector Deborah McMaster, admitting at Gray’s inquest in 2007 that the police had largely given up on securing any convictions due to a lack of evidence.

East Belfast MP Peter Robinson (later First Minister of Northern Ireland from 2008 to January 2016) stated after Gray’s killing that:

“there was no excuse for the murder”.

 

Fellow UDA member and former friend, Michael Stone claimed that Gray had told him he was a businessman rather than a loyalist, as loyalism did not pay the bills.

Unlike most brigadiers, he was not given a paramilitary funeral, complete with volleys of gunfire fired over the coffin. It was a private affair, attended by only 14 mourners. As a further sign of his unpopularity among loyalists, a street disco was held in east Belfast to celebrate his death.

 

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Gray’s effigy, with a curtain ring representing his trademark single gold earring, was thrown upon a bonfire. In lieu of murals dedicated to his memory, there was only graffiti scrawled on an east Belfast wall which read:

“Jim Gray RIP – Rest in Pink”.

 

Gray’s estate was frozen by the Assets Recovery Agency as part of an investigation into his criminality.

 

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MacIntyre’s Underworld Mad Dog

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See:  John Gregg (UDA) The man who shot Gerry Adam?

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See: Michael Stone – Loyalist Hero or Psychopath?

 

 

Bibliography

  • Lister, David & Jordan, Hugh (2004). Mad Dog – The Rise and Fall of Johnny Adair and C Company, Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing.
  • McDonald, Henry & Cusack, Jim (2004). UDA – Inside the Heart of Loyalist Terror. Dublin: Penguin Ireland.

 – Disclaimer –

The views and opinions expressed in these pages/documentaries are soley intended to educate and provide background information to those interested in the Troubles of Northern Ireland. They in no way reflect my own opinions and I take no responsibility for any inaccuracies or factual errors.

 

London Stories – Lost in Translation ,Do you wanna a Poke?

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Shortly after I had arrived in London I was hanging out with some London friends and one day to my delight I was invited to a picnic in the local park , with loads of staff (young sexy nurses) from Great Ormond Street Hospital.

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It was a scorching hot day and I was surrounded by beauties from across the world and I’m not ashamed to say I was having the time of me life and flirting with the girls as if my life depended on it. I was young , free and single and the world really was my oyster and fate was smiling down on me for at  once.

Lying on the grass chatting with a dusty beauty hanging on my every word I was sure I was going to “pull” and I silently thanked for the gods for bringing me here and now.

Suddenly I heard the gentle chimes of an ice-cream van approaching from the distance and feeling rather generous standing up I asked the crowd :

Does anyone want a Poke?

 

Silence……..

After a moment of confused silence everyone burst out laughing and realising what I’d said I had no choice but to joined in , although I felt like an right idiot!

My English mates thought it was feckin hilarious and took the P out of me for the rest of the day. And in case your wondering I did get off with the dusty beauty and she give me a night I will never forget. She informed me she’d read the kama sutra and I was to be her student for twelve glorious hours.

Another time shortly after arriving in London I was living in Walthamstow and after a skin full of beer I decided a pastie supper was in order , so I staggered my way to the local fish and chip shop and joined the queue.  When it was my turn I informed the good chinese lady behind the counter I wanted a Pastie Supper, with lots of salt and vinegar.

Please.

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She looked at me as if I was speaking Klingon and I saw doubt flicker momentarily in her eyes and then crawl slowly across her face. Then she went off and I was salivating at the thought of getting me chops around a pastie supper and I  could almost taste it my need was so great.

Then she returned and presented me with a  Jamaican Patty, a smug “got you!” smile dancing on her face.

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No says I ,  “ I want a Pastie Supper”

“Oh”  she says and goes off and returned with a plastic bag. Hmmmm.

This went on for about another ten minute until she’d shown me everything in the shop that sounded like plastic or pastie or whatever the crazy Irish man was asking for.

She was also starting to get grumpy with me and I decided enough was enough and I had to admit defeat!

“Forget it” I says, I’ll have a fish supper.

My Belfast accent was often a talking point among people when I first met and/or worked with during my early years in London. In fact to my joy a lot of women found the accent sexy and with my Northern Irish charm I was never without female company or friends and I always stood out in a crowd. When I first started to work in the City in high profile and big wage sales teams my accent was more of a hindrance and at times I found it hard trying to sell insurance and mortgages to people who couldn’t understand me. Slowly and gradually I learnt to slow right down and pronounce my words with less of the Belfast lilt and thankfully my sales went right up. The weird thing is my accent sound normally to me now, but when I go home they call me”posh git ” and London Steve  and take the piss out of my English accent. ?/

But back in England I still meet  people who find it hard to understand what I’m saying and I have to kinda slow down for them, mostly when I’m drunk come to think of it. I once had a Japanese girl (very rich) and I could hardly understand a word she was saying to me and she had no clue what I was saying to her, the long winter nights flew in!!

Funny.

Bye for now.

You have been ready extracts from my Autobiography Belfast Child – See home page for more chapters and PLEASE share. 

 

How till spake Norn Iron (A guide to local phrases)

There’s no better way to get to know the city and its people than to mingle with the locals and engage in a bit of light-hearted ‘banter’.

So if you want to know the difference between a minger and a munter or why tea is different from tae, or add your suggestions, just consult ‘How til spake Norn Iron’ and you’ll be talking the talk before you know it…big lad!

Here’s our A-Z online guide to speaking the local lingo, like:

A is for…
Ach: A regional word that’s usually placed at the start of a sentence. “Ach go on.”, “Ach you know?”
Arse: Bottom, bum. “A kick up the arse.”
Ascared: Combination of the words afraid and scared. “I’m ascared of heights.”
Aye: Yes. “Aye, I’ll have a pint if you’re buying.”

B is for…
Bake: Mouth/face. “Shut your bake”, “Look at the bake on her”
Banjaxed: Broken. “Darling, the bog is banjaxed, call a plumber”
Banter: Craic, fun chatter. “Let’s go for a pint and some banter”
Beezer: Good, fantastic “Your new car is beezer mate.” (Rosemary – London) 
Big Lad: A robust young gentleman. “Alright big lad?”
Bout Ye!: Greeting, How are you? “Bout ye big lad, let’s go for a swall.” (Glenn Kelly – Belfast)

C is for…
C’ mere: A command. “Come here”
Catch yourself on!: An expression, translated as “Get a hold of yourself!”, “Wise up!”
Clinker: Similar to Beezer. “My new bike is clinker.” (Eimear – Belfast/Glasgow)
Coupan: Face. “Look at the state of the coupan on yer woman.” (Eimear – Belfast/Glasgow)

Cracker: Good. “That restaurant was cracker”
Craic: Fun, to have a good time. “The craic is mighty lads, get the beers in”

D is for…
Da: Father. “I seen your Da in the pub last night”
Dander: Walk. “Lets go for a dander”
Dead-On: Good, decent, alright. “I like him, he’s dead-on”
Does my head in: Expression. Someone who really annoys you. “That dipso does my head in”

E is for…
Eejit : An Idiot. “You are an eejit”

F is for…
Faffin’: Messing around, acting an eejit. “Stop faffin’ around and do some work”
Fegs: Cigarettes. “Can I have twenty fegs and a can of coke?”
Fiddle: A Violin. “Get that fiddle out and let’s have a sing-song”
Fire: Throw. “I was out firing stones at the peelers”

G is for…
Grand: Good. “That’s grand, I’ll see you at half-eleven”

See: inyourpocket.com for G – Z 

 

Belfast Stories – Glencairn’s Rainbow River

Belfast Stories 

The Rainbow River

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At first Wee Sam and I got on brilliantly and spent every-spare minute together, getting up to all sorts of mischief as teenage boys will. We were in the same year at school and after the bell went, along with David and Pickle we would head towards the glens that surrounded Glencairn and spend hours playing by the river and trying to catch the rainbow trout as they swam up and down down river.

 

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Half way up the glen there was a natural bowl shaped area of the river called The Spoon and in the summer , we along with other children would strip off to our underpants and spend hours swimming and playing in the water. One day when we were swimming in The Spoon the water suddenly changed colour and started flowing a deep red colour. This frightened the life out of us, we all thought it was blood and legged it out of the water as fast as our legs would carry us..

We ran home and told Aunt Gerry and although she couldn’t throw any light on the situation, she told us to keep away from the river for the time being , which of course we ignored.

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About a week later, after school we all rushed up to The Spoon again and stood transfixed as we watched the river flowing a deep shade of purple. We all stepped back from the bank and pondered what might be making this strange event happen and came to the conclusion that it was a magic river, possibly evil and we should avoid it all costs. From that day on we renamed the river Rainbow River and every time we returned the water would be a different colour of the Rainbow  and remained a magical place.

Then one day months later we heard through the grapevine that the reason for the river changing colour was that there was a clothes factory further up the Glen and they had been fined for emptying their waste , including dyes into the river. We all felt a bit sheepish about our earlier fears and before long we were once again spending large parts of our spare time playing and swimming in Rainbow River.

 

You have been ready extracts from my Autobiography Belfast Child – See home page for more chapters and PLEASE share. 

 

 

 

Camp Speicher Massacre 12th June 2014

Belfast Child

Camp Speicher Massacre

 12th  June 2014

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Iraqi soldiers carry coffins containing the remains of ten of their comrades who were killed in Camp Speicher massacre.

Salahuddin – (IraqiNews.com) High Commission for Human rights announced on Wednesday pulling bodies of 25 victims of the massacre of Camp Speicher from Tigris River in Tikrit, and pointed out that it is keen to reveal the crimes, genocides and violations committed by the Islamic State extremist group.

The Commission said in a press release, “The commission followed the information about the discovery of a mass grave in al-Kosour area in Salahuddin province, and it held a number of meetings with the concerned authorities to open graves and pull the remains of martyrs from the Tigris River.”

“These efforts allowed the divers of River Emergency Directorate to pull the bodies of 25 victims of Camp Speicher massacre and handed them to Salahuddin Police Directorate,” the…

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Girl Power – Emmeline Pankhurst

Emmeline Pankhurst

Emmeline Pankhurst

Emmeline Pankhurst (née Goulden; 15 July 1858 – 14 June 1928) was a British political activist and leader of the British suffragette movement who helped women win the right to vote.

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In 1999 Time named Pankhurst as one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century, stating

“she shaped an idea of women for our time; she shook society into a new pattern from which there could be no going back”.

She was widely criticised for her militant tactics, and historians disagree about their effectiveness, but her work is recognised as a crucial element in achieving women’s suffrage in Britain.

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Born in Moss Side, Manchester to politically active parents, Pankhurst was introduced at the age of 14 to the women’s suffrage movement. On 18 December 1879, she married Richard Pankhurst, a barrister 24 years older than her, known for supporting women’s rights to vote; they had five children over the next ten years.

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He supported her activities outside the home, and she founded and became involved with the Women’s Franchise League, which advocated suffrage for both married and unmarried women. When that organisation broke apart, she tried to join the left-leaning Independent Labour Party through her friendship with socialist Keir Hardie but was initially refused membership by the local branch on account of her gender.

While working as a Poor Law Guardian, she was shocked at the harsh conditions she encountered in Manchester’s workhouses.

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 More information on Emmeline Pankhurst

 

West Memphis Three – The Devil’s Disciples ?

Belfast Child

West Memphis Three 

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The West Memphis Three are three men who – while teenagers – were tried and convicted, in 1994, of the 1993 murders of three boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. Damien Echols was sentenced to death, Jessie Misskelley, Jr. was sentenced to life imprisonment plus two 20-year sentences, and Jason Baldwin was sentenced to life imprisonment. During the trial, the prosecution asserted that the children were killed as part of a Satanic ritual.

A number of documentaries have explored the case. Celebrities and musicians have held fundraisers in the belief that the three young men convicted of the crime are innocent.

In July 2007, new forensic evidence was presented in the case. A status report jointly issued by the state and the defense team stated: “Although most of the genetic material recovered from the scene was attributable to the victims of the offenses, some of it…

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