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BIRDMAN'S BIG MISTAKE; Jailed killer's pounds 100k debt to crime family.

Byline: By BRIAN LIRONI

JAILED killer Robert 'Birdman' O'Hara fears revenge from his old bosses.

A crime clan are furious that drug dealer O'Hara had pounds 100,000 seized by the authorities while he owed them money.

He built a pounds 2million-a-year heroin empire with the backing of the notorious McGovern family in Glasgow.

O'Hara, Robert Murray and Colin McKay were convicted of the murder of 25-year-old Paul McDowall at the High Court in Dunfermline on Friday.

O'Hara, Murray, and McKay along with Brian Kelly were also convicted of dru dealing, possession of firearms and conspiracy to murder.

Senior McGovern family member Paul McGovern was seen in the public gallery during the six-week trial. He was furious when he learned that pounds 100,000 had been seized from O'Hara at a time when he owed the family money.

One source said: 'It would be fair to say the family were not hugely impressed.

'Hopefully, O'Hara will find another way to pay them off. If he doesn't, they'll find another way of settling the debt.

'They had the heroin trade in Possilpark, Saracen and Maryhill sewn up. That would not have happened without the sanction of the McGoverns.'

O'Hara and his gang face prison sentences of up to 40 years.

One police source said: 'O'Hara's criminal empire was turning over pounds 2million a year and making his team a profit of more than pounds 500,000.'

Police seized guns, including a Mac-11 machine pistol after raiding the gang's 'armoury'.

Despite living the life of a millionaire gangster, O'Hara was obsessed with an old feud with rival dealer Dougie Mills. And Paul McDowall was dragged into it when his sister Debbie moved in with Mills.

O'Hara's team finally succeeded on July 22 when Colin McKay and another man killed McDowall with a knife.

The attack had been ordered by O'Hara and Robert Murray.

Detective Chief Inspector Michael Orr, who led the investigation into O'Hara's empire, believes the gang's convictions will make the streets of Glasgow safer.

He said: 'There is no doubt that when violent drug gangs are taken off the streets, there is a major impact locally and long term.'

The O'Hara team will be sentenced on May 20.

O'Hara's girlfriend, Michelle Maxwell, 25, got a not proven verdict after being accused of trying to bribe a witness with pounds 10,000.

Witness protection schemes ensured that everyone, including two 'supergrasses', testified at the trial.

O'Hara bought a penthouse flat in one of Glasgow's most exclusive developments - the Pinnacle building in the city centre - for pounds 325,000.

And he was driven round by one of his team in a pounds 64,000 Audi RS6, one of the most powerful cars money can buy.

O'Hara also had pounds 130,000 - in pounds 10 and pounds 20 notes - hidden in plastic bags under the floorboards in his grandfather's house

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Terror: O'Hara and, far right, his girlfriend. Left, the machine pistol
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 1, 2005
Words:490
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