Neighbours move out as neo-Nazis rally to Adair's side

Times Online - Belfast/January 12, 2005
By David Lister and Russell Jenkins

They look like a cross between the Hitler Youth and the Village People on steroids, but a group of camp-looking German neo-Nazis may offer the only hope of salvaging the once-proud reputation of Johnny Adair, the notorious loyalist terrorist.

It is not so long ago that Adair, 41, who was released from prison on Monday and is now living in a suburb of Bolton, was worshipped by thousands of extremists across Northern Ireland and honoured with the nickname "Mad Dog".

But is is a measure of how far Adair has fallen that the only people now brave enough to voice their support for him are a group of about 20 skinheads in Dresden, the former heartland of Hitler's Third Reich.

As Adair recovered from a late-night party with some of his former cohorts to celebrate his release, his terrorist rivals poked fun at his friends in Germany yesterday and said that they would not be deterred from trying to murder Adair if he ever returned to Belfast.

One said that he remained the "No 1 target" for the Ulster Defence Association, Northern Ireland's largest loyalist paramilitary group, which drove Adair's family and former followers from Belfast in a feud two years ago.

"As far as we're concerned he's a nobody, and so are these Germans," the source said. The warning came as the blinds at the drab terraced house rented by Adair's family in Horwich, Bolton, remained down and the reinforced door firmly closed.

Inside, Adair was taking no callers. Several plain-clothes police officers were the only people to gain admittance, entering the house shortly before 11am to remind Adair that they will be watching his every move. Within half an hour of Adair arriving a "to let" sign went up on a neighbour's property, prompting speculation that some residents are already fleeing their homes.

Neighbours expressed fears about becoming caught up in a feud between Adair and his rivals in Belfast. One woman in Maureen's hairdresser's, close to the Adair home, told The Times: "I'm not too bothered about his arrival but the trouble is that people might be after him." Adair is now so isolated that even the majority of his old friends have deserted him, and the words of support from Germany were one of the few consolations for him yesterday.

Extreme loyalists in Northern Ireland have long enjoyed links with far-right organisations in Germany, but the Dresden group has pushed this to new limits by setting up its own special unit in homage to Adair, showering him with letters and even tattooing his terrorist slogans across their bodies. At least one was arrested by police in Germany last week as he sought to cross the border into France en route to England, where he had hoped to be at Adair's side to welcome him out of jail.

The man, who has the Adair slogan "Simply the Best" tattooed across his back above the insignia of the terrorist leader's "C Company", wrote to him before setting out. He said: "We decided to salute you in Bolton on the day when you get out of prison. Me and two friends will come to . . . show our friendship to you.

"I want to know you (sic) you have now up to 20 comrades in a own (sic) "C" Company group in my area around Dresden. C Coy is still alive and you are still the chef (sic). You have our unbroken loyalty."

Adair, a former National Front supporter, told a Belfast newspaper at the weekend that the man, known only as "Nick," had wanted to help him after his release from jail. He said: "Nick is a bit disappointed that he won't be able to see me when I get out of jail. Nick and his friends have been to see Gina (Adair's wife and the kids before."

Speculation was mounting yesterday that Adair, whose "C Company" on Belfast's Shankill Road killed about 40 Roman Catholics in the early 1990s, may move abroad using the personal fortune security officials believe that he has amassed.

But they are concerned that it is only a matter of time before his ego gets the better of him and he tries to recapture his old stamping ground in Belfast.

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