In the final part of our series, Chief Reporter ANNA SMITH tells how gangster Paul Ferris's `brothers' were killed in a Mafia-style revenge attack. Ferris spoke to TV director and writer Gus McAuley. The Record has not paid Ferris
As with the Italian Mafia, the Glasgow "mafia" liked to settle all its family business on the eve of a funeral.
Late one night in September 1991, Arthur Thompson Jnr was gunned down while he visited his father's lavishly-converted council house, nicknamed The Ponderosa.
As the Thompson family prepared to bury their ruthless gangster son, the revenge plot was already well underway.
Four weeks after Arthur was killed, Bobby Glover and Joe "Bananas" Hanlon, the two Glasgow hoods suspected of being involved in his murder, were assassinated by a hitman.
On the morning of September 18, 1991, their bloodstained bodies were found slumped in a car outside the Cottage Bar in Shettleston.
They had been shot in the head, then dumped there by the contract killer.
Ferris - a close associate of the two - is convinced the bodies were taken to a back room at the Caravel Bar, in nearby Barlanark, where members of the Thompson family were waiting.
Ferris said: "This was so members of the Thompson family could see for themselves that the contract had been carried out. And then as a final despicable act of revenge, another round of bullets was fired into the bodies.
"That is why the Caravel Bar was hastily bulldozed - because a thorough forensic investigation of the back room would have revealed to all what some of us had long known but could not prove. That even after death, the bodies of Bobby and Joe had been hideously abused."
It was widely believed, and still is, in the criminal world, that Paul Ferris was the man who shot Arthur Thompson Jnr and that Glover and Hanlon were with him that night.
Whether it was true or not, Hanlon and Glover paid the price. But Ferris, a man who thrived on his quest for power and money, escaped revenge because he was locked up in Shotts jail on remand for a knee-capping.
His two closest associates had died the way they lived - the Goodfellas- style movie they had been "starring" in came to a sudden and bloody end.
Their murders brought to a head years of bitter rivalry and in-fighting among the factions within Glasgow's criminal fraternity.
Long before the killing of Arthur Jnr, Ferris had drifted away from the Thompsons and was building an evil empire to rival theirs, using a combination of drugs and terror.
He had turned his back on the Thompsons after he was arrested and, he claims, fitted up for drugs charges in Rothesay. He believed that he was set up by police who had been tipped off by the Thompsons. Ferris was later acquitted on the drugs charges, but jailed for possession of a shotgun.
FERRIS said: "Over the previous few months, I had committed numerous acts of violence upon the chosen - those individuals who were unfortunate enough to have offended the Thompsons in one way or another.
"And for that I was now being seen as uncontrollable - a danger to the cause. In fact, I was just cutting the grass as asked. But my time had come and I was being taken out."
After his release, the bitterness deepened. Ferris was now living mostly in London, where he built up contacts in the drugs world.
But occasionally he returned home and, if a chance presented itself to damage the Thompsons, he would take it. He tells of the day he and his associate Tam Bagan mowed down Arthur Thompson Snr in their car.
He said: "One day as Tam and I were driving along Provanmill Road, who should we spot but the old man himself? As matters between us were becoming rather fraught, we decided to pull up and have a word.
"At that, the old b***** clocked us and reached into his jacket inside pocket. If it was for a gun, we had no time to lose for this old sod would have pulled the blasted trigger.
"There was now only one course open. Ramming on the gas, we mounted the pavement - right over the top of him.
"We drove a little down the road before screeching to a halt. We quickly turned the car around and came bombing back up to road for a repeat prescription.
"Why not just finish him off now, we thought. So on our return we repeatedly shunted the car over Thompson in a desperate bid to squeeze the last gasp of Judas breath out of his body."
To cover their tracks, Bagan took a gun from his own pocket and fired it into the windscreen, then left it at Thompson's side, so it would look as though he had started the incident by firing at people.
But Thompson survived and the gang conflict spiralled into a bloody war.
As the shootings and tit-for-tat beatings continued, Arthur Thompson Jnr was murdered as he visited his father's house during a pass from jail.
It was meant to be a "frightener", a ploy to make him scared. He was shot on the backside, and his assailants sat in the car laughing when he fell.
It was only later that night that they learned the bullet had travelled upwards and fatally to his heart. The smiles soon disappeared, for the implications were deadly.
Ferris was arrested when he arrived from London to answer a traffic offence. The case was adjourned and he and Glover were arrested and questioned over the murder of Thompson.
To hold them, they charged them with kneecapping another gangster called William Gillen. But Glover was released, while Ferris was remanded.
Ferris's last memory of Glover is him singing Mack The Knife as they sat in the cells below the court.
Ferris said: "It just seemed to me that it was one of those inspired happenings that perfectly suited the moment. A stab in the back.
"Time would soon tell us how poignant that short suspended passage of borrowed time actually was. It was the last time I'd hear Bobby's voice."
THE brutal contract killings of Glover and Hanlon are the stuff of gangland legend, and every hoodlum has a different theory as to who murdered them.
The Thompsons wanted revenge. Another Glasgow godfather working with the Thompsons had the means and will to do it.
Glover and Hanlon had been lured to their deaths by a prisoner on the run who asked Glover to help him with money. A meeting was arranged, but Glover's car was off the road and Hanlon obliged with his car.
But Ferris and others insist there was police involvement.
Glover and Hanlon were under 24-hour surveillance as suspects in the Thompson murder. So where were the police the night they died?
Murder suspects of such high profile would be tailed at all times. But where was the tail?
Ferris claims the senior officer who was in charge of Strathclyde Police Surveillance Team was seen years later wearing a black tie at the funeral of Arthur Thompson Snr. There are Featurespaper pictures of the policeman apparently wiping a tear.
Ferris said: "If he was in charge of the surveillance team, then it would, in my book, go a long way to establishing how the police at that time managed to lose Bobby and Joe.
"Whoever had the confidence to drive Joe's distinctive blue Ford Orion car back to the Caravel Bar that night with their bodies lying in the back of the car they had just been shot in, knew only too well that he must have been under surveillance.
"So there is no doubt in my mind that there has been an element of police involvement. It was either in escorting the bodies to and from the chosen venues, or informing certain individuals of the actual whereabouts of Bobby and Joe at crucial times in their itinerary that night."
Circumstantial evidence points to a Glasgow godfather who despised Ferris, Glover and Hanlon.
Glover's wife Eileen, frantic when he didn't return home, phoned the godfather only to be told that he too was out. However, shortly afterwards, the gang boss turned up at her home and told her that Bobby had been shot.
But at that point, police never even knew for sure who the dead bodies were in the car at the Cottage Bar.
Ferris said: "What I would dearly love an answer to is this: How did he know at that time it was Joe Hanlon's car, but more importantly that Bobby and Joe had been shot when the word as yet was not out in the street?
"Normally the bodies would be taken to the morgue and families called for identification. But before this procedure could be applied, Eileen Glover knew of Bobby's fate because this man knew before the examining authorities. He was in pole position to tell her."
It is highly unlikely that anyone will ever be brought to trial for the murders of Glover and Hanlon but, as police say, their files remain open.
When Ferris learned of their fate while on remand in jail, he wept like a baby. His words belie the fact that he had spent years stabbing and shooting other men.
Ferris says: "My lawyer visited me and told me of the tragic deaths of Bobby and Joe - my friends, my brothers.
"It wasn't until much later, in the stillness and solitude of the night, that the shocking realisation of his carefully chosen words released a stirring latent emotion that had unknowingly been building up inside me.
"I never imagined for one minute that any human being could have shed so many tears. I was so deeply hurt that I cried throughout the night, and even to his day can hardly put into words my exact feelings.
"It is a moment of dread and destruction that I will never forget. Nor will I ever forget those who had Bobby and Joe killed. That's for sure."
While in jail awaiting trial for the murder of Arthur Thompson Jnr, Ferris worked extensively on his defence.
AFTER 54 days, and 300 witnesses, Ferris walked free at the High Court on the 12th June 1992 in Glasgow after a jury found him not guilty. On the steps of the court he spoke of the injustice of it all and of the many prisoners wrongly convicted.
Ferris was back on the streets. Now only one man remained who had to be eliminated - Arthur Thompson Snr.
A plot to murder the old man was foiled when English hitmen were arrested by police in London who found pounds 50,000 in cash and a revolver on one man who had travelled from Glasgow by train.
A search of the compartment he had travelled in found a hold-all, a sawn- off shotgun, and photographs of Arthur Thompson Snr with circles round his head.
Despite this setback, the plot to murder Thompson went ahead weeks later. But on the fateful night when he was to be shot as he entered the Windsor pub in Glasgow, Thompson failed to show.
Instead, he died in his bed of a heart attack.
Twenty years of brutality and corruption were brought to an end through natural causes. No final blaze of glory as he crashed bullet-ridden to the floor.
Gone was the man who would do anything to protect his empire. Others were only too ready to step into his shoes.
Ferris, with contacts in London and Manchester, was growing in stature in the criminal world. But he needed the heavy artillery required to run such an empire.
In the end, it was his downfall.
He was arrested in May last year with one of London's most notorious criminals. And he was jailed last week for gun-running.
It will be a long time before he will ever see daylight.