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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 October 2005, 06:50 GMT 07:50 UK
Former loyalist leader shot dead
Police cordoned off the area around the body
Police cordoned off the area around the body
Leading loyalist paramilitary Jim Gray has been shot dead in east Belfast.

Gray, the flamboyant former leader of the Ulster Defence Association in the east of the city, was recently released on bail on charges of money laundering.

He was shot at a house on Clarawood estate after answering the door to two gunmen at about 2000 BST on Tuesday.

The 47-year-old had been living in the house with his father since being freed on bail. Gray was expelled from the UDA leadership in March.

The police have refused to comment on claims that he was given some police protection at the house in Knockwood Park after being freed on bail.

Cash

In April, just over a week after being expelled from the UDA leadership, he was stopped by police near Banbridge, County Down.

He was travelling in a car towards the Irish border, and police suspected he was trying to leave the country.

The police found a bank draft for 10,000 euro and nearly 3,000 in cash in his car.

Gray claimed the money had come from the sale of two pubs in east Belfast.

Former UDA leader Jim Gray
Jim Gray had been recently released on bail

However, police believed it was obtained through crime including extortion and drug dealing.

He was charged with money laundering and possessing the proceeds of crime and was remanded in custody.

As the police investigation continued, detectives seized more than 100,000 documents and raided council offices, planning offices and premises used by solicitors, estate agents and accountants.

He continued to apply for bail which was granted last month on condition that he lived at the address where he was shot on Tuesday.

'Doris Day'

Gray had a reputation for dressing flamboyantly and wearing heavy gold jewellery.

This earned him a number of derisory nicknames including 'Doris Day' and the 'Brigadier of Bling', while the group surrounding him were branded the 'Spice Boys'.

Northern Ireland Officer minister David Hanson condemned those responsible for the killing.

"Whoever it is, the government's commitment is to tackle that criminality to make sure that we deal with that criminality in a wider sense, to make sure that we take on board the type of issues to make that type of murder stop occurring," he said.

DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson said there was no excuse for the killing.

"Those who take the law into their own hands have nothing to contribute to society," the East Belfast MP said.

"There is no excuse for acting as judge, jury and executioner."

'No retaliation'

Ulster Unionist councillor Jim Rodgers has appealed for no retaliation for the shooting.

"Regardless of what the victim has been accused of doing, no-one has the right to take the law into their own hands," he said.

SDLP assembly member Alex Attwood has also condemned the shooting.

He said he hoped the situation would not escalate to a point where others, including innocent people, might be killed or injured.

In September 2002, Gray was shot in the face as he arrived at a house in the Garnerville area of east Belfast.

At the time, police said the shooting was "loosely related" to the murder of Loyalist Volunteer Force leader Stephen Warnock, who was shot dead as part of a feud between loyalist paramilitaries.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See pictures of Jim Gray before his death



SEE ALSO:
Papers seized in ex-UDA boss case
31 May 05 |  Northern Ireland
Ex-UDA leader's accounts frozen
14 Apr 05 |  Northern Ireland


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