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Being in the Maze was a holiday camp compared to my new home in England; EXILED EX-UDA HITMAN LIVES IN FEAR OF YOBS.


A FORMER hitman who fled Northern Ireland after the IRA put a contract on his head now wants to move - because his new home in England is just too rough.

Former loyalist gunman Roy Richmond puts a whole new slant on the current national obsession with yob culture - he claims even reformed terrorists don't feel safe on the streets of Britain.

Roy, 45, a burly, tattooed "hard nut", served half of an eight-year sentence in the Maze prison during the 80s hunger-strike period after he shot Catholic milkman Walter Frazier in a sectarian attack.

But yesterday he said: "The Maze was a holiday camp compared to this."

His wife Sharon, 30, was murdered in Belfast in 1980 after a rival gang shot at his car thinking he was inside.

He carried out numerous "punishment shootings" during his time with the UDA in the late 70s and early 80s, and left Belfast for Britain four years ago after police told him that the IRA had put out a contract on his life.

But it appears his former life is nothing compared to the high levels of crime and abuse he has endured in his new home in Stockton-on-Tees, near Middlesbrough, Cleveland.

He has been spat at by prostitutes, beaten up outside a pizza parlour, had his car vandalised, its tyres slashed, and claims pounds 3,000 worth of property was stolen from his home while he was serving time for assault on one of the few occasions he fought back.

Last night dad-of-two Roy, 45, who is looking for a new home in Redcar with girlfriend Angela Leonard, 24, said: "I know it is strange for a former terrorist to describe anywhere as too rough, but you should try living here.

"I spent four years in the Maze prison when the hunger strikes were on - but that was a holiday camp compared to Stockton.

"I've always been a hard nut. Back home I was shot at. I've never been afraid of anything.

"But when I go out at night now I feel vulnerable. I won't let my girlfriend go out by herself because I'm worried for her safety.

"I have served time for assault but I want an easy life. I am trying to get away from any trouble.

"I have been attacked and abused in the street, had girls spitting at me, and got kicked in the face outside a pizza place three months ago. The lad nearly bust my jaw.

"When I reported it to police, all I got was a crime number."

Roy, who is unemployed and pays pounds 50-a-week rent to a private landlord for his bedsit, claims his troubles began when he reported local troublemakers to police.

Though he dropped the charges, he then became a target of abuse.

Disabled through epilepsy and asthma and being treated for depression, he added: "If I retaliate, then I will just end up going to jail again.

"I have never killed anyone - I maimed people, they were punishment shootings.

"But I do not want to go back to the way I was before. I'm getting out of here. It's just too rough."

Roy lives near Stockton town centre, but local councillor Paul Kirton said: "The area where this man lives has got wardens, community police and regular officers patrolling.

"If he has any problems there is a big presence there."

A Cleveland Police spokesman confirmed he had made two complaints of assault in the past two months.

He said suspects were arrested, but Mr Richmond refused to pursue the matter. He denied claims about crime levels in Stockton.

He added: "The figures for the year up to April 2005 show that crime is down by 9.2 per cent overall.

"Robbery is down by 19 per cent, and house burglary is down by 14 per cent.

"Drug crime is up 34 per cent, but only because of our active approach in detecting it and making arrests.

"We do not feel that the criticisms are justified."


GETTING OUT: Ex-terrorist Roy Richmond; HARD: Stockton-on-Tees
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 24, 2005
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