Specky, Goofy and Piggy sound like names plucked from a Disney cartoon.
Nothing could be further from reality. They’re the nicknames, or nommes de guerres, of three of the most violent and dangerous gangsters who ever picked up a blade, a handgun or a machete.
Stewart ‘Specky’ Boyd, together with his two henchmen, first surfaced in Ferguslie Park in Paisley in the late 1980s.
The rundown area was, and still is, one of the most deprived parts of Britain.
Stewart ‘Specky’ Boyd first surfaced in Paisley’s Ferguslie Park in the late 1980s
In 1987 a community business was set up with almost £200,000 of public money after an initiative by a local Labour MP, Tommy Graham and senior local Labour figures.
Ferguslie Park Community Business spawned FCB Security, which was given free premises by the authorities and preferential contracts. It was meant to provide jobs for local people, and it did, but it was controlled by hoods and became a honeypot for Boyd’s gang who, behind the uniforms, were extorting protection money and selling drugs, Temazapam mainly, or ‘jellies’ as the street calls them.
They controlled the turf and brooked no competition. Mark Rennie, a 26-year-old junkie probably didn’t think he was. To feed his habit he had borrowed £40 from a moneylender, Boyd, and attempted to turn this over by small-time dealing. He didn’t make the repayments which quickly spiralled, so that he was owing hundreds, thousands, of pounds.
Specky needed to make an example, lest others might follow.
George ‘Goofy’ Docherty
He sent three of his team to warn off Rennie or to make him pay, one way or another. It was a cold day in November 1995 when they turned up on the doorstep of Mark and his two brothers. The three wearing FCB jackets were George ‘Goofy’ Docherty, Robert ‘Piggy’ Pickett and Stewart Gillespie, whose brother Billy was manager of the company. Gillespie, who was in charge, handed a gun to Pickett and told him, “Shoot the fat bastard.” Piggy clicked the trigger of the shotgun but it didn’t fire, so Docherty weighed in with a machete and mayhem ensued.
It got even more serious six months later. Mark Rennie clearly hadn’t learned his lesson and tried to get his own back, vandalising the cars of the two Gillespie brothers. On May 23, while trying to run away he was shot in the back. The bullet pierced his lung, spleen and then heart. He died instantly. Stewart Gillespie was the gunman.
Local MP Irene Adams (now Baroness Adams of Craigielea) took on the gang and was fiercely critical of not only the gangsters but the company which shielded them, FCB. She and her family received death threats, and allegedly a contract was put out on her. But probably because she was so prominent it went no further.
Others weren’t so lucky. Witnesses were savagely attacked – one man was so severely beaten that he lost an eye – and this widespread intimidation led directly to Strathclyde police setting up the first witness protection unit. Several crucial witnesses were rehoused and given new identities.
And because witnesses testified, Stewart Gillespie was convicted and handed a 25-year-sentence for the murder of Rennie. He was also convicted with his two associates, Piggy and Goofy, of the earlier attempted murder.
Specky, who was due to stand trial for conspiracy to commit the murder, was in sunglasses hiding out in Spain where he had fled to. Later, confidently, he decided to return to stand trial. After seven days of the hearing and 45-minutes of consideration the jury unanimously found him not guilty.
FCB subsequently collapsed owing more than £300,000. A four-year investigation into alleged fraud did not result in charges.
Boyd’s narrow escape from justice only bolstered his reputation and his commercial worth. He became involved with some of Glasgow’s biggest gangsters, and in particular John Healy, Tam McGraw’s brother-in-law. Healy hired him as an enforcer and when Healy went down in 1997 on a 10-year-stretch for the importation of 220lbs of cannabis in a kids’ holiday minivan Specky took over the Healy taxi business and the security firm.
Three years later, in 2000, Boyd was contacted by a front man in Tam McGraw’s security company, Lewis ‘Scooby’ Rodden, who had been charged with extorting and terrorising another security company principal. It was claimed that Rodden wanted the main witness at his trial intimidated. Boyd did threaten the witness, John Jeffrey, but he made a schoolboy error, failing to notice CCTV in the room where he did so.
“Don’t ID that fellah or things will happen to you”, Specky warned. Jeffrey replied: “Things better not”, to which Boyd threatened: “After this case, we’ll do you.”
John Jeffrey did testify but Rodden walked on a not proven verdict. In October Jeffrey’s house was sprayed with bullets.
Tam ‘The Licensee’ McGraw
A warrant was issued for Boyd but he managed to keep on the run by traveling between Scotland and Spain before he was finally arrested in Aviemore. The charge was intimidating a witness and in July 2001 he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
Afer he was released he returned to what was his new base, the white-walled Andalucian town of Mijas, above the Fuengirola coast.
He continued to deal in drugs, funnelling them back to Scotland, although now the Russian mafia was moving in on him. On 28 June 2003, 40-year-old Specky was at the wheel of his Audi TT sports car when it careered through a crash barrier on the outskirts of Mijas and ploughed into a BMW heading the other way. Six people were killed in a fireball, prompting one local officer to comment that it looked as if a bomb had gone off.
Boyd, his daughter and his girlfriend’s three-year-old child all died. The suspicion that it was deliberately engineered has never been confirmed. After Boyd’s death it became clear that he had been at the centre of a massive drugs surveillance operation by the National Crime Intelligence Service.
Norman Carlton will serve a minimum of 22 years in prison for the murder of Stewart Gillespie
An NCIS source said: “We were well aware of who he was and his involvement in drugs and organised crime. He was the subject of our attention in the days before he died.”
Stewart Gillespie also died violently, in a Paisley flat in April 2013, at the hands of convicted killer Norman Carlton, the ex-boyfriend of his daughter. Gillespie’s family posted a funeral notice in the Paisley Daily Express. It said only that he had died ‘suddenly’. His brother Billy had also died of cancer.
George ‘Goofy’ Docherty was also murdered. He had joined up with the Lyons gang in Glasgow, who were at war with another crime family, the Daniels. In August 2006 he was knocked down by a burgundy-coloured Mitsubishi Charisma, repeatedly stabbed, and left to die in a street in Tollcross. It was the third attempt on his life since he was released from Barlinnie prison after the Rennie sentence.
Robert ‘Piggy’ Pickett also joined the Lyons crime gang. He has been slightly more fortunate than the two men he went down with on the Rennie charge. He was shot three times in the stomach in December 2006 and lost a kidney. But he survives still.
- Part I Arthur Thompson
- Part II Paul Ferris
- Part III Tam McGraw
- The McGovernment
- Part IV The Lyons v the Daniels
- Part VI Stewart Boyd
- Part VII Walter Norval
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