Tag Archives: James Gray

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


Jim gray.jpg

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.



Who killed UDA Boss?




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”.



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


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.


Image result for James Gray uda bunch of grapes

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.



Loyalists Episode


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.


doris day funeral

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.



MacIntyre’s Underworld Mad Dog



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

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See: Michael Stone – Loyalist Hero or Psychopath?




  • 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.


4th March – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

4th March


Thursday 4 March 1971

The first meeting of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive was held at Stormont.

[The headquarters and regional offices of the NIHE were to be the target of paramilitary attacks on many occasions during ‘the Troubles’.]

Saturday 4 March 1972

The Abercorn Restaurant in Belfast was bombed without warning. Two Catholic civilians were killed and over 130 people injured. The Irish Republican Army (IRA) did not claim responsibility for the bomb but were universally considered to have been involved.

See Abercorn Bomb

The Stormont government refused to hand over control of law and order to Westminster control.

Monday 4 March 1974

Those Unionists who were in favour of the Assembly and the Executive decided that the Sunnindale Agreement  should not be ratified unless Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish  Constitution   were repealed.

The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) continued to argue that there could be no “watering down” of the Agreement

. [Public Records 1974 – Released 1 January 2005: Note of a meeting that took place in Northern Ireland on Monday 4 March 1974. Those attending were Brian Faulkner, then Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Executive, Kenneth Bloomfield, Northern Ireland Civil Servant, and Frank Cooper, then Permanet Secretary at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO). The meeting discussed the implications of the result of the Westminster General Election (NI) held on Thursday  28th February 1972

Thursday 4 March 1982

By-Election in South Belfast Following the killing of Robert Bradford on 14 November 1981 there was a  by – election in the constituency of South Belfast to fill the vacant Westminster seat.

Martin Smyth, then head of the Orange Order, won the election as a Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) candidate.

[The election campaign was marked by antagonism between the UUP and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) who both fielded candidates.]

Gerard Tuite, formerly a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), was arrested in the Republic of Ireland following a period ‘on the run’.

[Tuite became the first person to be charged in the Republic for offences committed in Britain. He had escaped from Brixton Prison in London on 16 December 1980 where he had been serving a sentence for bombing offences in London in 1978. He was sentenced in July 1982 to 10 years imprisonment.]

Tuesday 4 March 1986

James Molyneaux, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), and Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), issued a joint statement which condemned the violence and the intimidation during the ‘Day of Action’ (3 March 1986).

Tom King, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, speaking in the House of Commons said that Unionist Members of Parliament (MPs) had made common cause with men in paramilitary uniforms.

Monday 4 March 1991

Councillors in Belfast City Council voted by 21 to 19 to end the ban on visits by government ministers.

[The first visit by a government minister since the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA) took place on 25 March 1991.]

Friday 4 March 1994

Hugh Annesley, then Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), was subpoenaed to produce the Stalker report in order to assist the ‘shoot to kill’ inquest.

Monday 4 March 1996

Proximity Talks Launch of a period of intensive consultations between the Northern Ireland political parties at Stormont. The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) refused to join these ‘proximity’ talks. Sinn Féin (SF) were refused entry to the talks.

Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and Dick Spring, then Tánaiste (deputy Irish Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs), met a number of the other parties.

Tuesday 4 March 1997

The Radio Telefis Éireann (RTE) programme Prime Time claimed that Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), had indicated that SF was “behind” some of the residents groups that were opposing Orange Order parades.

[Adams was alleged to have made the comments at a Republican conference in Athboy, County Meath on 23 November 1996. SF denied the claims.]

Wednesday 4 March 1998

The impact of the double killing in the village of Poyntzpass, County Armagh, on 3 March 1998 continued to be felt across Northern Ireland. In a rare show of unity David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), and Seamus Mallon, then Deputy leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and the Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, walked through the village together to pay their respect to the families of those killed and to condemn the killings

. Leaders of the main Churches in Ireland issued a strong condemnation of the violence that had escalated since 27 December 1997.

The British government issued a discussion paper on the future of policing in Northern Ireland. John McDonnell, then a Labour Member of Parliament (MP), said that the Irish in Britain should be treated as a separate ethnic category in the census in 2001.

Thursday 4 March 1999

Final details of four new British-Irish treaties were agreed between the Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), and David Trimble, then First Minister Designate. The treaties provide for the establishment, in principle, of North-South bodies and other institutions in the Good Friday Agreement. The principal treaty would establish the six North-South implementation bodies that had been agreed before Christmas.

The other one-page treaties allowed for the setting up of the North-South ministerial council, the British-Irish council and the new British-Irish inter-governmental conference.

[The treaties were signed by the two governments on 8 March 1999.]

Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, called on the Irish Republican Army (IRA) to begin handing over its weapons before Sinn Féin (SF) joined an Executive Committee. An opinion poll commissioned by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Price Waterhouse Coopers indicated that, of those asked, only 41 per cent of Unionists now supported the Good Friday Agreement.

Sunday 4 March 2001

Bomb Explosion in London A car-bomb exploded outside British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Television Centre in west London at 12.30am (00.30GMT). A warning had been received at 11.20pm (23.20GMT) on Saturday evening. The bomb (thought to have contained 20 kilograms of home-made explosives) exploded as bomb squad officers tried to carry out a controlled explosion on a taxi left near Television Centre.

One man was injured in the explosion and there was some damage to surrounding buildings.

[The bomb was thought to have been planted by the “real” Irish Republican Army (rIRA). There was speculation that the bomb was in retaliation for last year’s Panorama programme which named four men allegedly responsible for the Omagh bombing.]

Monday 4 March 2002

There was a sectarian attack on a young Catholic man (19) in north Belfast. Four youths stabbed him in the back as he was leaving the Yorkgate Centre. He suffered a collapsed lung and needed 15 stitches to the stab wound.

[The Yorkgate complex is on the interface between the Nationalist New Lodge area and the Loyalist Tigers Bay area. The four attackers ran towards Tigers Bay following the incident. Sinn Féin (SF) described the attack as attempted murder.]

A total of 28 windows were broken in a Catholic church in Newcastle, County Down.

The Belfast Telegraph (a Belfast based newsaper) reported on a paper entitled Post Mortem by Michael McKeown. The paper (which was circulated privately) was a study of the motives behind the killings that occurred during the conflict. McKeown used eight general categories, ranging from “counter insurgency” to “economic sabotage”, and applied one to each of the more than 3,600 deaths that occurred after 1969. His figures showed that 31.19 per cent of the deaths were attributable to attacks on security forces and most of these were carried out by Republican paramilitaries. 26.91 per cent were the result of sectarian attacks with the majority carried out by Loyalist paramilitaries. 18.52 per cent of killings were “punitive” attacks – killings carried out by paramilitaries to intimidate their own communities or protect rackets. ” Counter insurgency” killings accounted for 7.15 per cent of the deaths.

Unionist Members of Parliament (MPs) criticised the government in the House of Commons for not allowing more time to debate the Bill which is intended to review the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland.

[The issue of the use of Royal Crests in courtrooms and the flying of the Union Flag outside the buildings has proved controversial.]

Jeffrey Donaldson and David Burnside, then both Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) MPs, had a meeting with Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), to discuss their concerns about the phasing out of the Police Reserve. Following the meeting Donaldson said that he believed that Flanagan would recommend the retention of the reserve force.


Remembering all innocent victims of the Troubles

Today is the anniversary of the death of the following people killed as a results of the conflict in Northern Ireland

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die

– Thomas Campbell

To the innocent on the list – Your memory will live  forever

– To  the Paramilitaries  –

There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, but nothing worth killing for.

9 People   lost their lives on the  4th March between 1972– 1992



04 March 1972

Albert Kavanagh,  (18)

Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC)
Shot during attempted bomb attack on factory, Boucher Road, Belfast


04 March 1972

Janet Bereen,  (21)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in bomb attack on Abercorn Restaurant, Castle Lane,


04 March 1972
Anne Owens, (22)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in bomb attack on Abercorn Restaurant, Castle Lane, Belfast.


04 March 1972

 Marcus McCausland,   (39)

Status: ex-Ulster Defence Regiment (xUDR),

Killed by: Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA)
Found shot, by the side of Braehead Road, Derry.


04 March 1973
Gary Barlow,   (19)

Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot while part of British Army (BA) patrol searching house, Albert Street, Lower Falls, Belfast.


04 March 1977
Rory O’Kelly,   (59)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Senior Department of Public Prosecutions official. Shot while in Little’s Bar, Coalisland, County Tyrone.


04 March 1978
Nicholas Smith,   (20)

Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by booby trap bomb while attempting to remove Irish flag from telegraph pole, Crossmaglen, County Armagh.


04 March 1991
Michael Lenaghan,   (46)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Taxi driver. Found shot inside his car, Heather Street, Shankill,


04 March 1992
James Gray,   (39)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Shot by sniper, while driving his lorry, Cornascriebe, near Portadown, County Armagh