There was little levity in the 14-week trial of the six men accused of being a hit squad for the Glasgow crime syndicate the Lyons. The feud with near neighbours the Daniel family has gone on for two decades and has involved a slew of shootings, fatal and near-fatal, firebombing, attacks with machetes and knives, as well as the daily business of drug supply.

But a barely-suppressed chuckle went round the High Court when the first target of the latest explosion of violence, Robert Daniel, was asked whether there was any ill feeling between the two families. “Not that I know of,” he replied, straight faced.

His car had been rammed by another in December 2016, he was then chased into a house in Robroyston in the city, before being twice struck on the back of the head with a hatchet or machete.

A month later Thomas Bilsland suffered a fractured skull after he was set upon in Glasgow's Cranhill.

Three more were to follow, including the most savage on Steven "Bonzo" Daniel. Like the other victims, his car had been secretly fitted with a tracker and in May 2017, after a high-speed car chase which started in the Milton in north Glasgow and ended in an off-ramp of the M8, a relentless attack followed, as he was set upon with knives and machete, which almost severed his nose from his face and detached his top jaw from his skull. Ambulance responders at first thought he had been shot.

READ MORE: Six members of Glasgow Lyons 'crime mob' jailed for murder plot against 'rival' Daniel clan

In the trial of the six, "Bonzo" denied that the Daniels were a serious crime family, at war with the Lyons, claiming that he didn’t know if they had any enemies

The Lyons six were last week convicted in what the High Court was told was a conspiracy of murderous intent. They will be sentenced next month.

The most senior was Robert "Piggy" Pickett, a graduate of the Paisley crime scene, who has been shot, served a sentence for attempted murder, another for contempt and who, again, has a blank memory when it came to anyone who might harbour a drudge against him.

Players in this violent arena often have nicknames which belie their lethal nature – like "Gerbil", "Goofy" – and in this spirit the six might be called The Bonzo Dog Band, after the Seventies pop group. They acted together and they certainly dogged Bonzo. Not that they followed the message of the 1972 album, Let’s Make Up and Be Friendly.


Specky, Goofy, and Piggy might sound as if they’re the characters in a Disney cartoon but nothing could be further from the truth. They’re the nommes de guerres of three of the most violent and dangerous villains who ever picked up a blade or handgun.

Stewart "Specky" Boyd (deceased) was the leader of a drug gang in Paisley’s Ferguslie Park in the late 1980s. Robert "Piggy” Pickett was a lieutenant, as was George "Goofy" Docherty. Mark Rennie, a 26-year-old junkie, borrowed £40 from 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, if not thousands, of pounds.

In November 1995, Goofy, Piggy and Stewart Gillespie turned up on Rennie’s doorstep. Gillespie handed a gun to Pickett and told him, “Shoot the fat b*****.” Piggy clicked the trigger of the shotgun but it didn't fire, so Docherty weighed in with a machete.

Rennie survived, if only for six months. He vandalised the cars of the two Gillespie brothers. On May 23, 1996, 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.

Gillespie was given a 25-year sentence. He served 14 years and was later murdered in his home. Piggy and Goofy were jailed for 12 and seven years for the first attempt on Rennie.

On release both Piggy and Goofy joined the Lyons mob. Goofy was killed after he was stabbed and repeatedly run over in a targeted attack for which no one has been convicted. Piggy awaits his sentence.


If there is a source of the original enmity between the two crime families, the Lyons and Daniels, rather than greed and control of drug terrain, it dates back to the summer of 2001 when a large stash of Daniels' cocaine was stolen from a house in the Milton housing scheme and sold on to the Lyons. Milton was Lyons terrain and they clearly felt that the Daniels, from nearby Possil, were moving into their fiefdom.

For years the Lyons had enjoyed not just immunity, but establishment approval and support. In 1992 Eddie Snr, already well known to police, was given disused Chirnsyde School in the Milton for a "community project". Three years later, while he was using the place as the headquarters of his crime empire, he was given £1.4 million in public funding.

For almost two decades now the bitter feud between the gangs has seen fatal and non-fatal shootings, knifings, vehicle hit and run, firebomb attacks, police corruption, witness intimidation – and drugs, shedloads of drugs. It is a fight to the death. Literally.

In early December 2006, Lambhill in north Glasgow became the scene of what one witness described as like a clip from a gangster movie. But there were no cameras and the blood was not ketchup or Kensington Gore. On to the forecourt of Applerow Motors (owned by David Lyons, brother Eddie) walked the main "actors" wearing long black coats. They were two Daniels’ hitmen, Raymond Anderson and James McDonald, who liked to call themselves The Untouchables. They were holding handguns.

It was over in minutes but when the smoke cleared Lyons' 21-year-old nephew Michael was dead on the ground, his cousin Steven was badly-wounded, as was Robert Pickett, shot three times in the stomach, later losing a kidney.

At the subsequent trial of the two men Pickett claimed the wrong people were in the dock. It was suggested he had been paid to say that. Whatever the truth, he was later sentenced to two years for contempt of court over the evidence. Anderson and McDonald received the longest sentences ever passed in a Scottish court, 35 years.

What probably sparked this carnage was the drive-by shooting three weeks earlier, in Auchinairn, Bishopbriggs, of Daniels lieutenant Kevin "Gerbil" Carroll and associate Ross Sherlock. It was the second time Gerbil had been hit, the first outside his mother's home in Milton three years earlier.

Carroll had a long history with the Lyons. He claimed to have been bullied at school by family members but he also forged a friendships with Jamie Daniel’s sons Robert and Francis "Fraggle" Green. The “Gerbil’ became a member of the family running a team of thugs who staged "alien abductions" of rival dealers, many of whom worked for the Lyons. They were so called because victims, usually found wandering in a state of semi-undress, would claim they could not remember anything afterwards.

Carroll was psychotic. And incorrigible. The end, when it came, was a very public one, at the Asda superstore in Robroyston. There's little doubt that he was set up, indeed a police officer was later jailed for leaking information to the alleged hit man. As he sat in the back seat of a black Audi outside the busy store the child locks were on so he would have been unable to get out.

Three masked gunmen approached the car and shot him five times through the windows as the two men in the front seat fled.

One of them, however, phoned "Fraggle" Green, who arrived before the police, was given the keys to the car, searched Carroll's body and removed his mobile phone, which the police might have found interesting. It was unlucky Friday January 13, 2010, seven years and one day after Gerbil had been shot outside his mother's house.

READ MORE: Six members of Glasgow Lyons 'crime mob' jailed for murder plot against 'rival' Daniel clan

Ross Monaghan, a Lyons associate, was charged with the murder but the case collapsed because of lack of evidence, a regular occurrence in Glasgow’s everlasting gang feud.

In January 1917, when Monaghan was taking his daughter to primary school in Glasgow when he was shot a wounded by hitman dressed as a woman and pushing a buggy. Two shots hit him in the arm and shoulder as he ran away. He fled to Spain but returned a couple of weeks later to be photographed in a staged set up with senior members of the Lyons, including Eddie Junior.

Martyn Fitzsimmons, a convicted gunrunner, was one of two men acquitted of the shooting. His brother Ryan was one of the victims of the Lyons crime rampage which saw the six men go down, attacked apparently in retribution for the Monaghan shooting. He suffered brain damage.

The balance of power has shifted over the years. For a time the Daniels were on top but since the death of family leader Jamie – who, surprisingly died in bed from cancer in July 2016 – the balance has shifted. The spree of violence against other senior family members involving the Bonzo Dog Band which followed immediately in the wake may have been an attempt to finally triumph. But no one should bet on that.