Sam McCrory (loyalist)

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Sam "Skelly" McCrory (born 27 October 1963) is a former member of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA)/"Ulster Freedom Fighters" (UFF),[1] an Ulster loyalist paramilitary organisation. In 2008 he publicly "outed" himself as gay, and a gay activist.[2]

In his youth McCrory formed a racist skinhead gang along with future UDA Brigadiers Johnny Adair and "Fat" Jackie Thompson. He was knee-capped by the UDA for assaulting a pensioner.[3]

McCrory's first target was Francisco Notarantonio, who was set up by British Army agent Brian Nelson to divert the UDA from targeting Freddie Scappaticci. On 9 October 1987, Notarantonio, a 66 year old who had been interned in 1971, was shot dead at his home in Ballymurphy.[4]

In July 1992 McCrory, Thompson and two others set off to target Provisional Irish Republican Army leaders Brian Gillen and Martin Lynch. The UDA attackers were ambushed by the British Army on Finaghy Road North on the border between South and West Belfast and were fired upon. McCrory was arrested and received a long prison sentence.[5] He would eventually become the UDA officer in command at the Maze prison and, as such, attended the meeting with Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Mo Mowlam, during the peace process.

After his release, police accused him of involvement in a gun attack on a bar in August 2000 at the start of a feud with the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).[6]

In November 2008, he appeared in an episode of Danny Dyer's Deadliest Men - which was dedicated to McCrory's notoriety. In the programme, Danny Dyer meets McCrory in the Scottish seaside town of Ayr, where McCrory is now living. The two visited McCrory's old stomping ground in Belfast.


  1. ^ Wood, Ian S. Crimes of Loyalty: A History of the UDA. Edinburgh University Press, 2006. p.125
  2. ^ "Gay UDA gunman: 'I hid my true self'"
  3. ^ p156 Crimes of loyalty: a history of the UDA; Ian S. Wood; Edinburgh University Press, 2006
  4. ^ p125 Crimes of loyalty: a history of the UDA; Ian S. Wood; Edinburgh University Press, 2006
  5. ^ Crimes of loyalty: a history of the UDA by Ian S. Wood, p. 163; Edinburgh University Press, 2006
  6. ^ "UDA boss hunted over bar shooting which sparked feud" Sunday Mirror, 15 October 2000