Bradley Welsh was “collateral damage” in a feud between two notorious Scots criminals after finding himself on a “death list”.
During the murder trial, George “Dode” Baigrie was repeatedly named as the shadowy figure who placed a £10,000 contract on Welsh.
Baigrie, 38, has earned a fearsome reputation as a “hard nut” who was jailed for 12 years in 2013 over a samurai sword attack.
It was Baigrie’s conflict with Edinburgh cocaine baron Mark Richardson – a friend of Welsh – which led to the boxing gym boss being gunned down.
Baigrie reputedly forged close links with members of the Lyons crime clan from Glasgow while in prison.
Richardson is affiliated with the rival Daniels gang.
Sources said Welsh was increasingly stressed and worried after his pal David McMillan was badly injured at his home in a machete attack by Sean Orman.
Welsh even phoned a friend of Orman – James “Peem” Davidson – the day after McMillan was targeted, apparently in a bid to prevent further trouble.
A source described Welsh as an “easy target” who was unable to turn his back on his criminal friends. The source said: “Everything goes back to the hatred between Baigrie and Richardson. That’s why Bradley Welsh got shot.
“There is personal stuff between Baigrie and Richardson which has went on for 10 years since they were in jail together. And then there’s the Lyons versus the Daniels dimension.”
Prison insiders said Baigrie, a former boxer, was regarded as one of the toughest inmates at Edinburgh’s Saughton prison.
While Baigrie was serving time there around 2011, he had a string of run-ins with Richardson, 34. Sources said the pair were “at each other’s throats”. One prison source described Baigrie as the “top man in the jail”, adding: “He acts for the Lyons in the east and he gave Mark Richardson a really hard time.
“Richardson ended up being moved to Glenochil to get away from Baigrie.”
In 2012, the Record told how Richardson had his face slashed in Glenochil. Underworld sources said Baigrie was rumoured to have backed the blade attack on his rival.
A source said: “It’s drugs and money and a personality thing too. Baigrie hates anyone who thinks they’re top boy because that’s how he views himself.
“That’s how Richardson sees himself and Baigrie’s nose was right out of joint.”
Baigrie was understood to have been released the year before Welsh was shot dead on April 17, 2019, and came to live in Edinburgh.
Another source said: “Word went out that anyone associated with Mark Richardson was getting it. There was rumoured to be a list of names. A death list.
“David McMillan is a friend of Richardson. Welsh got it for no other reason than he was friendly with Mark Richardson.
“Welsh wasn’t involved in organised crime. He might give advice or clear something up, try to make peace, but he wasn’t part of that world. In the end he wasn’t able to shake off these people he’d known for many years. He had loads of pals and wouldn’t turn folk away and that was his downfall.
“Welsh drove around in this clapped-out car. He was more into charity work than anything else. That and the boxing.
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“After David McMillan was attacked, Welsh was really worried. He was stressed he’d be targeted because he was friends with McMillan and with Richardson. He was worried he was on the list.”
The trial heard how Welsh called a phone used by Orman’s pal Davidson at 8.52pm on March 14. Sources believe Welsh wanted to calm tensions between the warring parties.
A source said: “Brad was collateral damage. Other people connected to Richardson would’ve been much harder to get at.”
As a young man, Baigrie was marked out for a boxing career with both Scottish and East of Scotland titles under his belt.
But aged 20, he was jailed for the attempted murder of Don Essen, having bludgeoned the forklift driver on the head and body with samurai swords in Dalkeith, Midlothian, in June 2003.
While behind bars, Baigrie offered protection to race-hate killer Imran “Baldy” Shahid. Shahid, the leader of a gang who kidnapped and killed teenager Kriss Donald in Glasgow, had a £20,000 price on his head back in 2011.
At the time a prison source said: “No one’s going to try to kill Baldy while Baigrie’s looking after him.”
Richardson was caged for 10 years in 2010 after cops seized £2million of cocaine and heroin.
In 2018, he was sentenced to eight years for his role in a gang who flooded Scotland’s streets with guns and drugs.