McGRAW FUNERAL: BEAM ME UP SCOTTY...
THE McGRAW FUNERAL... GANGSTER Tam McGraw was cremated yesterday - as the minister at his funeral said: "Beam me up Scotty."
It was a bizarre send-off for Scotland's top crime boss, who was also a big Star Trek fan.
The Reverend David Locke told mourners that The Licensee was a science fiction nut who also loved Doctor Who and Star Wars.
And as he drew the red curtain around the drug lord's coffin before the cremation, he said: "You wonder if, right now, Tam would say, 'Beam me up Scotty'."
Around 1000 mourners said their farewells to McGraw, 55, at Daldowie Crematorium, near Glasgow.
They heard plenty about McGraw the family man, who gave cash to his local kids' hospice, but little about his ruthless career or feuds with hardman Paul Ferris.
Mr Locke told the congregation all about McGraw's favourite foods - wife Margaret's mince and tatties, and brown bread jam sandwiches with chocolate flakes.
The minister said McGraw, 55, loved listening to Phil Collins and Robbie Williams, and singing on a karaoke machine at his fortified £400,000 home.
And he told how The Licensee couldn't resist the cigarettes that hastened his death, often enjoying "two or three at once with one behind his ear".
Mr Locke said McGraw had "a number of enemies" and "spent a short time at Her Majesty's pleasure".
But he added: "The vast majority of charges he faced were not proven.
"Everybody makes mistakes and I don't know what Tam got up to.
"It is not for us to judge the actions of others. God shall be the judge."
McGraw, who had colon cancer, died of a heart attack in bed last Monday at home in Mount Vernon, Glasgow.
Yesterday, 200 mourners packed into the house before the funeral service.
They were greeted by the gangster's loyal wife Margaret, known as The Jeweller because of her love of gold trinkets. She wore two large gold chains, a gold brooch and a gold watch with her black trouser suit.
In life, McGraw rarely went through his own front door. He kept it locked against his enemies and refused to fit a letter box in case someone poured petrol through it.
But just before 1.30pm, the door swung open and McGraw's coffin was carried to a hearse for the two-mile drive to Daldowie. A cortege of around 100 cars followed.
Hundreds more mourners were waiting at the crematorium, where a one-hour double slot had been booked for McGraw.
Robbie Williams' hit Angels was played as they crammed into the East Chapel. Police surveillance officers in unmarked vans watched the crowd from a discreet distance.
Margaret was joined by McGraw's son William, 25, and one of their grandsons.
McGraw's brother Francis and brother-in-law "Snadz" Adams, a former colleague in the notorious Barlanark Team of armed robbers, were also seated in the front rows.
Gangland figures arrived to pay tribute, including McGraw's right-hand man John "Joker" McCartney and security bosses Michael "Benji" Bennett and Stephen "Scudder" Scullion.
There had been talk that Ferris would turn up to gloat but there was no sign of him as Mr Locke began to speak. Security guards made low-key patrols of the chapel to look out for unwelcome guests.
Mourners laughed as the minister described the young McGraw as "Jack the Lad who grew into Jack the Man".
Mr Locke, of Barlanark Greyfriars, added, to more laughter: "Tam attended his local primary school and a number of approved schools. He also attended a few better-known educational institutions.
"He then went to work on the buses as a conductor, where he began re-selling used bus tickets.
"When Tam was about 20, Strathclyde's finest began to show an interest in him, at which point he uprooted and moved to London with wife Margaret.
"After a few years down there, during which time he suffered a horrific accident in an electro-plating plant which forced him to give up the job, they moved back to Glasgow and got into the ice cream trade. The rest, as they say, is history."
McGraw was a leading figure in the infamous Ice Cream Wars of the 1980s, when ice cream vans were used as cover for drug-dealing.
His enemies accused him of involvement in the worst incident of the wars, the murders of six members of the Doyle family in their firebombed home in 1984.
But Mr Locke described McGraw as a family man who devoted his life to his relatives and friends.
He said McGraw was happiest at home with Margaret, enjoying a cup of tea and his beloved fags.
Mr Locke revealed that McGraw collected every episode of Doctor Who ever made. He added: "He had a passion for TV, including the news, but his favourites were sci-fi shows."
The minister went on: "Tam loved to talk. He had a lot of friends and he would slag them all off in his own sarcastic way when he told tales.
"He also loved singing on the karaoke in his house. He wasn't bad - unlike a few female family members who he had to ban from singing."
Mr Locke told the mourners he could not say whether McGraw was the gangster described in the media.
He added: "A book written about Tam asks, 'Was he a man standing on the edge looking over his shoulder? Who was the real Tam McGraw, gangland figure or wise investor? Or was he a friendly family man who loved his family?
"Did he have a criminal past or was he a businessman who made some wise financial decisions?"
Mr Locke concluded by saying: "Today, Tam's close friends and family mourn him. He was much-loved by them all and will be sadly missed.
"He was a much-loved father, grandfather and son."
After McGraw was cremated, the congregation sang Amazing Grace. Then, as the mourners filed out of the chapel, Beatles track Let It Be, one of The Licensee's favourites, was played.
McGraw's family were driven away from the crematorium in a convoy of four black Mercedes limousines. They headed to the nearby Woodend pub for his wake.
An old woman who watched the family leave said: "It's hard to imagine someone like that had so many loved-ones wanting to say goodbye.
"I expected a bigger deal for his funeral though, given what they say he was worth."