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(C) Underbelly Magazine 2018

Billy Thompson: The runt of the litter

Updated: Dec 9, 2019


Billy Thompson is the youngest of the Thompson family, growing up in Arty's shadow must have been difficult for Billy. He was always trying to get his dad's attention, but this was given all to Arty and his sisters, Billy was as inept as Arty when it came to firing his dad's name about, the "you know who my da is" Syndrome. He was just entering adulthood when Paul Ferris started working with his father. You would have thought he would have learned a lot from the background his father had and maybe learned from Tam Bagan and Paul Ferris who were around the Thompson house a lot. But it seems Billy just wasn't up for it, though one word from Arty and his dad and he would try his best. He climbed up onto the Tam McGraw's pub, the Caravels, roof and poured petrol inside setting it alight, and then he painted the words, “McGRAW IS A GRASS” on the wall facing the bar. This some say is what started the war that led to the death of Thompson Junior then Bobby and Joe This infuriated McGraw, he knew the order had come from Arty; McGraw approached old Thompson and told he wanted to be compensated for damage to his pub; Thompson laughed it off, promising he would fix something out, but in reality, he knew McGraw was getting nothing. Next, Billy also tried to impress by driving Johna McKenzie to the Caravel where he threw a grenade inside the bar door, but either through fear or because he was wasted he forgot to pull out the pin from the grenade. McGraw had enough, so he paid Gordon Ross and an associate to kidnap Billy Thompson. One day, Billy was inside a pub next to Barlinnie prison when Ross and his associate walked in, dressed in suits they showed warrant cards to Billy and attempted to arrest him, they put handcuffs on him and were taking him to their car when Billy caught onto what was going on and started screaming that the two were not police officers. The pub, being next to Barlinnie prison, was full of  off-duty prison officers, they intervened as they did the handcuffs that Ross and the other guy had clamped on Billy snapped, and he broke free. Ross and his mate got in their car and drove off, this sent a message to Thompson that his sons could be gotten at. When Paul Ferris was in prison after being set up by the Thompsons. He finally realised that the Thompsons had set him up on the heroin rap he was remanded on he fell away from the Thompson’s. Paul Ferris's dad Willie Ferris was telling anyone who would listen that the Thompsons were grasses, just like he had told Paul when he started jumping around with Thompson Jr. Billy Thompson and a bunch of his drug addict mates attacked old Willie with baseball bats leaving the old man battered and bruised, but not down. When Arty was in prison, those who know him said Billy thought he was Arty, he was at his dad's beck and call, but the drugs, especially heroin, were too much a temptation for Billy, they gave him that little bit of the courage he needed.

The night Arty was shot, Billy watched him stagger towards the Ponderosa door, doubled up on the CCTV cameras that surrounded the house,

Billy and his sister Tracy raced out to see what was wrong. Billy took Arty to the hospital in his car, but he died within the hour. 

Billy Thompson was now Thompson's only son; Billy couldn't cope with his father's expectations of him. With Arty dead and his other sister Margaret passed on with a heroin overdose, Billy was alone, his mother tried helping him, but it didn't work. Heroin was too much of a lure.


Billy was Jailed for possession of a harpoon gun and sentenced to 2 and a half years in prison, this was reduced to 19 months on appeal because the gun was not classed as a firearm. After his father passed away, Billy tried running the Provanmill Inn for his mother, but he ran up massive debts. He was now a target for anyone with a beef against the Thompson's, he was stabbed outside the Ponderosa in late 1999 and then in August 2000 he was attacked by two men, They stabbed him and jumped up and down on his head, his skull was fractured, he never fully recovered from that beating. just yards from where his brother Arty was shot dead...


The attackers Robert Morrison and Christopher Irvine were cleared of attempted murder but convicted of the brutal assault in the east end of Glasgow ... They stabbed him and jumped up and down on his head until his skull was shattered. All because Billy Thompson asked Morrison to lend him £3.00, claimed Thompson's. girlfriend... He never fully recovered from that beating

After his attack Billy sold heroin in Riddrie for years, on and off. Sometimes when he was flush he could be generous but other times he like to play the powder power game. This led to him being robbed numerous times. But Billy would always try stand his ground, however, the boy couldn't fight sleep.

.In 2006, he was again arrested, this time on the island of Rothsay, he was accused of robbing a woman of her handbag, but when it came to court he was found not guilty.

Then on March the 4th Billy took that last hit of heroin. He overdosed, leaving only Margret Thompson as the only surviving Thompson sibling. Billy had fought a long battle with heroin. He had been robbed a few times and life was getting harder by the day. It seems his body had just given up, just like his fathers did all those years back.




Arthur Thompson Sr

Arthur Thompson Jr