Saturday 10 December 2016

EXCLUSIVE: The moment Paul Williams confronts John Gilligan - 20 years after Veronica Guerin's murder

Veteran crime reporter admits 'losing the head' when he saw the man accused of ordering Veronica's murder

Published 27/11/2016 | 06:11

This is the moment crime journalist Paul Williams confronted notorious criminal John Gilligan for the first time since the murder of Veronica Guerin 20 years ago.

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Our exclusive video shows the broadcaster approaching convicted drug dealer Gilligan at the family home in Jessbrook, Co Kildare.

The gripping footage, which will feature in a new TV3 two-part documentary 'Paul Williams: State of Fear', was captured on the journalist's phone.

Irish Independent correspondent Williams is seen walking around the equestrian centre, built with Gilligan's drug money, before the mob boss emerges from a nearby bungalow carrying a large garden shears.

Williams races towards him and says: “How are you going John? It's Paul Williams.

“I always wanted to meet you again you f***ing scumbag. What are you doing back hiding here John?”

John Gilligan
John Gilligan

Gilligan (65), dressed in a dark coat and wearing a Panama hat, races away when confronted by the reporter who doggedly pursues him.

Williams says: “Come here John, are you afraid John? I haven't got a gun John.

“Poor John, big brave Factory John.

“It's 20 years since you murdered Veronica Guerin, you scumbag. And I haven't gone away you know.

“Come on out John, I'll be around all the time.”

Sunday Independent journalist Veronica Guerin was shot dead as she drove back to Dublin from Naas District court on June 26, 1996.

Gilligan (65) was acquitted of Veronica's murder - but he remains the chief suspect.

He was eventually convicted of drug trafficking in 2001, and was initially handed a 28-year-sentence, which was reduced on appeal.

Gilligan was freed from Portlaoise Prison on October 15, 2013 and has since survived two assassination attempts.

In the wake of Veronica's murder the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) was set up to seize the assets of drug dealers like Gilligan.

John Gilligan cutting trees at his home on the Jessbrook Complex. Photo: Sunday World
John Gilligan cutting trees at his home on the Jessbrook Complex. Photo: Sunday World

CAB eventually took control of the Jessbrook Equestrian Centre from Gilligan and it was bought by a legitimate company. However, the under threat crime boss continues to live in a bungalow adjacent to the property.

This was the same property where Veronica Guerin confronted Gilligan and subsequently beaten up by him a short time before she was shot dead.

Explaining the video Williams told Independent.ie: “We discovered three or four weeks ago that John Gilligan was actually back living in Jessbrook."

“I decided to go down to the house to have a look at the place, I was told that Gilligan hadn't been seen for weeks. I took out my mobile phone and I was just filming and what you see is a figure moving behind the trees, and it is John Gilligan.

“All my professionalism went out the window and I will tell you why. Since Veronica was murdered I have viewed this as personal, not as business. She was a colleague, a friend, and she was murdered for doing her job.

“I was threatened many many times and I lived with 15 years of police protection. In 2002 John Gilligan saw a picture of me and my daughter in the newspaper and he sent word out from prison that he wanted shots put through our front door to ruin our Christmas.

"So, when I saw the face of this f***er coming towards me, I lost it and I ran towards him.

“People may criticise me for that, and I may look a fool for it, and the reason I'm giving the uncensored version on Independent.ie is that I just want to share that moment with the public. Isn't it incredible that 20 years later, after Veronica's murder and after everything we went through, that he's still there.

"He's not supposed to be there and he should not be there.

“In advance, forgive me for that, but I don't really care.”

* 'Paul Williams: States of Fear' will be screened on TV3 on Monday, November 28th, and Tuesday, November 29th.

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