The gun used to kill renegade loyalist leader Geordie Gilmore has been seized by police, sources said last night.
he 44-year-old was shot dead by South East Antrim UDA members as he drove through the Woodburn estate in Carrickfergus in March 2017.
David ‘DD’ McMaw, Darren ‘Mushy’ McMaw and ‘Scotch’ Brian McLean were acquitted of his murder after a 2019 trial.
Gilmore was a former ‘commander’ of the SEA UDA in the seaside town until a fall-out with rival bosses turned into a violent feud.
Last Thursday the PSNI announced detectives had questioned a 33-year-old man in connection with the murder and sent a file on him to the Public Prosecution Service.
A spokesman said the suspect was interviewed and released as “part of an investigation following the recovery of a firearm in October 2021”.
Police refused to answer follow-up Sunday Life questions about the gun find, details of which were surprisingly not released to the media at the time.
Claims from SEA UDA sources that the weapon was used in the Gilmore murder have not been denied by the PSNI, with senior officers choosing to stay silent.
But loyalists were more talkative, expressing a strong belief that the handgun was used in the killing. They also claimed its discovery 10 months ago was kept from the media to protect informants in the terror gang.
“The first we heard that the peelers had the gun was when (name redacted) was taken in for questioning last Thursday,” said one source. “There was no forensics linking him to it or he would have been charged.
“The question for the UDA is why the police didn’t announce they had found the gun last October because any time they discover UDA drugs or weapons it’s all over the news within hours. The feeling is that someone within the organisation at a high level has provided a tip-off.”
According to insiders the weapon find has led to heightened paranoia within the SEA UDA.
“Only a handful of people knew where the gun was so it has to be one of them, the cops didn’t just come across it,” added the source.
“So who among that number had the motive to tout? The suspicion is it was someone who was recently arrested, or someone who is facing charges and is trying to do a deal to have the case dropped. The level of paranoia this has created is huge.”
Suspicion has already fallen on one senior SEA UDA figure as being the ‘tout’ who gave up the Gilmore gun. The terror gang’s ‘brigadier’ Gary Fisher is under pressure to start an internal inquiry into the matter, however members say he has no appetite to point the finger of blame as the group is so heavily infiltrated by the security forces.
“One UDA man calling another UDA man a tout would be like the pot calling the kettle black,” said our insider. “Fisher will let on that there is an internal inquiry, but it will be b******t.”
David ‘DD’ McMaw was identified during the 2019 trial as the gunman who shot Gilmore in the back of the head as he travelled through Carrickfergus in his car. ‘Scotch’ Brian McLean was named in court as being with him when the fatal rounds were fired.
Although trial judge Mr Justice McAlinden found the pair not guilty, largely based on the unbelievable witness evidence, he ruled they had “deliberately taken steps” to dispose of their phones. The judge also branded Darren ‘Mushy’ McMaw a liar who had purposely misled police.
The trial revealed how Darren McMaw, who was following Gilmore in his work van, and his brother DD McMaw were in regular phone contact with other leading loyalists before and after the killing.
These individuals were named in court as: Clifford ‘Trigger’ Irons — the UDA chief in Carrickfergus; Jamie Adams, whose home was attacked during the feud; and Michael Lowry, who the judge said provided information on Gilmore’s movements to Darren McMaw.
In May 2017, two months after the Gilmore murder, the SEA UDA shot dead his close friend Colin Horner in the carpark of a Bangor supermarket.