Trainspotting 2 star Bradley Welsh revealed ‘my past is always with me’ in an interview less than a week before he was killed last night with a shot to the head in the stairwell of an Edinburgh townhouse.
The boxing gym owner and reformed criminal, who also appeared in an episode of Danny Dyer’s Deadliest Men, was gunned down around 8pm at the Georgian property on Chester Street in the city’s affluent West End.
Police said today they believe he was killed in a targeted attack and have launched a murder investigation. Locals suggested the victim lived in the house where he was shot.
Mr Welsh – who was engaged to be married at the time he was killed and had a young daughter, Eva Tiger – spoke to a newspaper about his teenage years becoming involved in protection rackets before a spell in prison.
Dyer paid tribute to him today, writing on Instagram: ‘So sad to hear the news about Bradley Welsh. A good soul with a massive heart. A massive loss. Rest in Peace my old son.’
Bradley Welsh in his Holyrood Boxing Gym (left) and with Danny Dyer (right) who featured him in an episode of Danny Dyer’s Deadliest Men
Dyer paid tribute to him today, writing on Instagram: ‘So sad to hear the news about Bradley Welsh. A good soul with a massive heart. A massive loss. Rest in Peace my old son’
Author Irvine Welsh also paid tribute his close friend, tweeting: ‘Bradley John Welsh, my heart is broken’
In an interview with the Edinburgh Evening News on April 13, Welsh recalled how jail time had made him realise being behind bars ‘was for imbeciles’ and said boxing had been his ‘way out of the ghetto’.
But the 42-year-old admitted his past was never far away, saying: ‘It’s always with me but I don’t have to atone myself for anybody.
‘The things I did, they were wrong, but I understand why I did them, because I had f**k all.
‘Of course, I regret them. I have a daughter and a wee boy who is like a son to me, and I want a better society. That’s why I do what I do.’
Welsh starred alongside Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller and Robert Carlyle in T2 Trainspotting, playing gangland figure Mr Doyle.
Author Irvine Welsh led tributes to his close friend today, tweeting: ‘Bradley John Welsh, my heart is broken.
‘Goodbye my amazing and beautiful friend. Thanks for making me a better person and helping me to see the world in a kinder and wiser way.’
Following last night’s shooting, up to a dozen armed police were scrambled and the area was put on lock down as they hunted for the gunman.
Police remain at the scene of the shooting on Chester Street in Edinburgh today and are appealing for witnesses
A floral tribute wrapped in a green and white scarf – the colours of Hibs Football Club – lay at the edge of the cordon today
Residents who live within the police cordon are being checked in and out of the taped-off area, but they say officers have told them nothing about what happened. Pictured: Floral tributes being laid
Welsh’s body is removed today by a private ambulance. The road where he was shot is near to his house
Paramedics battled to save Welsh but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Welsh appeared in Danny Dyer’s Deadliest Men in 2008, where he described himself as a ‘born leader’ in the episode.
The actor later became involved in charity projects in Edinburgh, including helping young people to stay away from a life of crime through his Holyrood Boxing Gym.
Welsh playing gangland figure Mr Doyle on Trainspotting 2
He was reportedly a former British ABA Lightweight boxing champion.
Fraser Walker, chief operating officer of Boxing Scotland, said: ‘The Boxing Scotland family is extremely shocked and saddened by the sudden and tragic passing of Bradley.
‘He was one of a kind and will be sadly missed. Our thoughts and sympathy go out to Bradley’s family at this extremely difficult time.’
Other people also paid tribute on social media, with one woman posting a picture of herself and friends alongside Welsh in a boxing ring.
She said: ‘You to me are treasure, you to me are dear. Our coach, our motivator but most importantly our friend, Brad Welsh.’
One man described Welsh as a ‘huge character’ in Edinburgh.
He said: ‘Devastating news about Brad Welsh tonight, a huge character in Scottish amateur boxing and the Hibernian support and someone who contributed a great deal to society through his charitable work and boxing gym. RIP.’
Police locked down Chester Street in Edinburgh last night after Welsh was shot in the head
Up to a dozen armed officers were called to the scene of the shooting. Police are appealing for help to trace the gunman
Police forensics teams examine the scene where Welsh was gunned down by an unknown assailant
A neighbour told how she heard gunfire at the time Welsh was murdered.
Shocked mother Jessica Russell, 32, lives on the same street where Mr Welsh was killed, and where he was believed to live.
She saw cops go down to the basement level of the house, thought to be subdivided into flats.
Police said today that Mr Welsh was found lying ‘in a communal staircase’, where he died.
Today a sheet of yellow tarpaulin shielded the basement area of the building from public view.
Ms Russell said: ‘My child had just gone to sleep and I heard a shot. I quickly ran to the window and I saw nothing.
‘I don’t know how many minutes after that but it was fairly soon that I saw police everywhere. They went down to the basement level [of Mr Welsh’s property].
‘Then an ambulance arrived and they didn’t seem to be taking anyone away or dealing with anybody then it calmed down.
‘I heard police shouting for someone in the house to open the door and I heard a bashing sound so I’m not sure if they bashed the door open.
‘They just kept shouting ‘it’s the police, open up’. We just had to make sure our child was alright.
‘A man came out and asked the police if we were safe and they told him not to worry. It seemed like an isolated incident.’
Another neighbour, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: ‘I was quite shocked when I came home last night and there was a lot of police.
‘I didn’t know what was going on but this is the West End of Edinburgh, and it’s a beautiful part of the city so it’s normally safe. We were all quite shocked.’
A long stretch of the street remains cordoned off today, with the stairwell of a downstairs flat covered by a large yellow sheet.
A floral tribute wrapped in a green and white scarf – the colours of Hibs Football Club – lay at the edge of the cordon.
Residents who live within the police cordon are being checked in and out of the taped-off area, but they say officers have told them nothing about what happened.
Welsh with former Celtic Football Club manager Neil Lennon in a social media photo
A woman, who did not want to be named, was in her flat across the road from the incident when she heard a ‘massive bang’.
She added: ‘I was in the kitchen and heard a bang. I ran through to my boyfriend and said ‘what was that?’, because it sounded a little bit weird.
‘Then there were loads of SWAT teams – the police were here super-quick.’
Lewis Starling, 25, said: ‘I just came home last night at about 8.40pm and the whole place was cordoned off.
‘I had to get permission to get back to my flat and after that more people just arrived and it’s just been locked down.
‘It’s quite surprising, you don’t expect that around here.’
He added that the yellow tarpaulin covering the entrance to the flat was put out at ‘about midnight or 1am’.
Back in 2017 Welsh told The Sun how he landed the Trainspotting role after Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh and director Danny Boyle turned up at his gym.
Irvine Welsh, who wrote Trainspotting, said his ‘heart was broken’ by the death of his friend
‘I met them all for breakfast the next morning and offered to help them with some set locations. Maybe it’s the kind of laddie I am and with my upbringing or whatever, but they saw something they liked and afterwards John Hodge went away and wrote a boxing scene for Spud.
‘I told Danny he could film in my gym which he said would be ‘perfect’. Then they said they’ve got a scene for me and Danny asked, ‘Will you try out for a part?”
However, Welsh said he believed he was ‘too aggressive’ in his interview for Danny Boyle’s sequel to Trainspotting.
Last month it emerged one of Britain’s biggest holiday firms was taking him to court after he used its logo on complaint leaflets.
Welsh complained that Jet2 ‘abandon families’ and the company should not be trusted after he lost his baggage.
He claims the firm refused to accept liability, so he printed 15,000 leaflets, which he then distributed in the city centre. These say: ‘Package holidays you CAN’T trust.’
Mr Welsh was set to face a showdown in the Court of Session, Scotland’s highest civil court, after distributing the leaflets. Jet2 was seeking an interdict to stop him using its logo.
A spokesman for Police Scotland said: ‘Officers and other emergency services responded to the area and a man was found lying on a common staircase, having sustained a serious injury.
‘Sadly the man, passed away at the scene. Formal identification has still to take place, however, the victim is believed to be 48-year-old Bradley Welsh, who lived nearby.
‘This death is being treated as murder. Early investigations indicate that this has been an isolated attack and inquiries are ongoing to trace those responsible.
‘Anyone with any information that could assist the investigation please come forward.’
Welsh became involved in charity projects in Edinburgh, including helping young people stay away from a life of crime through his Holyrood Boxing Gym (where he is pictured)