Loyalist who denied he was in doorstep extortion video poses in Celtic top

Andy Thompson has denied he was one of two men caught on CCTV demanding £10,000 from a middle-aged woman at her home in east Belfast.

Loyalist Andy Thopmson

Loyalist Andy Thompson

Hugh JordanSunday World

This is top loyalist Andy Thompson — who featured on the front of this newspaper last week — as you’ve never seen him before.

He is pictured here sporting the famous green-and-white hoops of Glasgow Celtic FC.

And in a rare moment of bad taste, businessman Andy is also seen doubling as dead paedophile DJ Jimmy Saville.

He was photographed in the street near his home in east Belfast, chomping on a huge fake cigar while wearing a shiny shell suit and silver/grey wig.

The shocking snaps were taken last summer as fun-loving Andy embarked on a series of rip-roaring stag nights, prior to tying the knot with his long-term partner and mother of his three sons, Amanda Livingstone.

Pedigree bulldog breeder Andy and in-demand beautician Amanda got hitched last August in a simple civil ceremony in Belfast City Hall.

Days later, they were joined by family and friends from Belfast for a second showbiz-style wedding extravaganza in Spain.

The event — in a spectacular seaside setting in Benidorm on the Costa Blanca — was also an exercise in cross community co-operation by a generation determined to breach Northern Ireland’s bitter religious divide.

Bride and groom Amanda and Andy and best man and bridesmaid Lee and Emma Gardner are living proof that religion matters little to new-age couples, 25 years after the signing of Good Friday Agreement.

Life-long Protestant friends Andy and Lee met raven-haired Catholic cousins Amanda and Emma during the heady days of the dance music scene, when the sectarian barricades of Belfast first began to break down.

But Andy’s true-blue pals in staunchly Protestant east Belfast — including his uncle Stephen ‘Mackers’ Matthews — were left gobsmacked when a picture of him wearing the green and white hoops of the Scottish champions was shared on social media.

Loyalist Andy Thompson

“Mackers nearly passed out when he saw the photograph of Andy in a Celtic strip — and he wasn’t the only one!” one guest told us.

And he added: “Remember, Celtic had once agreed to play in a fundraiser game for Glentoran at the Oval, but the UVF in East Belfast, blocked it.”

Stephen Matthews (60) is one of two men currently facing charges relating to a loyalist ‘show of strength’ at Pitt Park, Belfast, two years ago.

Last June, he lost a High Court bid preventing the Sunday Life newspaper from naming him as the leader of the UVF in east Belfast, a position he denies.

Matthews also stepped down as senior coach of East Belfast Football Club last May after question marks were raised over future community funding to the club.

In Benidorm last August, Andy Thompson’s bride Amanda wore a stunning white wedding dress and veil with shoes specially purchased from Brown Thomas in Dublin.

Bridesmaid Emma also turned heads with a silky black number while carrying a beautiful bouquet of white roses.

But many observers agreed it was the boys who stole the show at this no-expense-spared beach wedding on the Costa Blanca.

Best buddies Andy Thompson and Lee Gardner wore bespoke checked short trouser and waistcoat suits, with white shirts and black bow ties. They also sported matching white trainers and single white roses in their lapels.

“The girls looked beautiful. But Benidorm had never seen anything like Andy and Lee before. They were the real stars of this show,” a guest said.

Speaking to the Sunday Worldlast week, Andy Thompson denied he was one of two men caught on CCTV demanding £10,000 from a middle-aged woman at her home in east Belfast.

The debt was alleged to have been owed by her son.

“I know it looks like me and a lot of people are saying it’s me, but it definitely isn’t,” he said.

We can today reveal that Andy Thompson’s best man, 36-year-old father-of-three Lee Gardner, is extremely well known to the PSNI’s Paramilitary Crime Task Force.

On March 24, 2020, Gardner was one of two men caught in a cocaine seizure which police claimed in court was linked to the UVF.

Police spotted him throwing away a sandwich bag which was recovered and found to contain cocaine with a street value of £1,680.

Following a trial a year later, Gardner was convicted of possessing a class A drug with intent to supply, and he was jailed for two years.

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