Tuesday 27 September 2016

Exclusive: Almost six times more gun homicides here than in England and Wales

*Almost six times more gun homicides here than in England and Wales
*Family of murder victim demand gun clampdown as CSO show 209 shot dead in ten years

Cathal McMahon

Published 23/03/2016 | 13:54

Dean Johnson
Baiba Saulite
Marlo Hyland
Anthony Campbell and his mother Christine
Alan Ryan. Photo: Collins Court
Roy Collins, who was mudered by the Dundon gang

MORE than 200 people have been shot dead in Ireland in the last decade, around half the number of those killed in England and Wales despite their vastly larger population.

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The figures compiled by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) for Independent.ie, show that 201 people were shot dead in the state between 2005 and 2015. A further 262 people were shot and injured.

In England and Wales, where there is over ten times the population (56 million), Office of National Statistics figures reveal that there were just 420 gun murders in the same ten-year period.

This works out at an average of 0.44 gun homicides per 100,000 of population in Ireland per annum but just 0.075 in England and Wales - six times higher.

The family of one victim here have now called for stricter firearm control and greater resources for gardai investigating serious crimes.

Dean Johnson (21) was shot dead near his home in Clondalkin, West Dublin in August 2013 in a case of mistaken identity.

His brother Andrew told Independent.ie the statistics are “crazy”.

“Gun crime is out of control in this country. When someone close to you is killed you have to deal with it every day. The worst part is that you know that someone did this and they did it for no reason," he said.

“If someone dies of a natural death you can deal with it. But with this, it is just so pointless.” 

Other high-profile murders covered by the 10-year-period were the deaths of crime kingpin Martin ‘Marlo’ Hyland in 2006; his fellow gang member Eamon ‘The Don’ Dunne in 2010; and Real IRA leader Alan Ryan in 2012.

Alan Ryan. Photo: Collins Court
Alan Ryan. Photo: Collins Court

The figures also include the shocking gun murders of detective garda Adrian Donohoe in January 2013 and his Louth colleague Garda Tony Golden last October.

The recent murder of David Byrne at the Regency Hotel in Dublin and the retaliation killing of Eddie Hutch are not covered by these figures. Nor is the latest gun murder - that of Noel 'Kingsize' Duggan in Ratoath last Wednesday.

Read more: WATCH: Paul Williams - Who was gangland feud's latest victim Noel 'Kingsize' Duggan?

An analysis of the figures has also revealed that the overall homicide rate in Ireland is double that of the England and Wales figure. Over the ten year period from 2005 to 2015 there were over 970 manslaughters and murders in the state. The corresponding figure for our neighbour is 6,123.

This works out as a per capita figure of 2.1 per 100,000 here and just 1.1 for our neighbours.

John O'Keeffe, Head of the School of Psychology & Criminology at City Colleges' Dublin, has analysed the figures for Independent.ie.

Criminologist & Forensic Psychologist John O'Keeffe
Criminologist & Forensic Psychologist John O'Keeffe

"Whatever way you examine and parse this, these these figures are truly shocking. Headline crime figures may be coming down overall but when it comes to violent murderous crime generally and specifically involving guns, Ireland stands at the abyss."

According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO) there were 2,613 robberies of an establishment or institution involving a gun in the 10 years and 458 robberies from a person with a firearm for the period from January 2005 to September 2015.

There were 510 aggravated burglaries where raiders were carrying a firearm.

The figures show that 2006 was the bloodiest year on record in the last decade. There were 474 incidents where a firearm was involved. This includes 27 gun murders in the 12-month-period.

In November of that year Latvian mum Baiba Saulite was shot dead at her home in Swords, North Dublin by a ‘Marlo’ Hyland’s gang on behalf of a man who wanted her dead.

Read More: Killer was given map to home of murdered mum-of-two

Roy Collins, who was mudered by the Dundon gang
Roy Collins, who was mudered by the Dundon gang

A month later Hyland’s own gang decided to kill him. They shot him dead in an attack that also took the life of innocent plumber’s apprentice Anthony Campbell.

Fuelled by the demand for cocaine and the strength of the economy a number of feuds exploded in the latter half of the last decade. And this is borne out in the number of gun crimes in the period.

In 2009 there were 24 gun murders in the state including the murder of businessman Roy Collins (34) by members of the McCarthy Dundon crime gang.

His death sparked a major clampdown on the Limerick gangs which has seen a dramatic fall off in the number of gun crimes in the city

The figures show that there has been a nationwide drop in the number of gun incidents since 2011 where there were 421 reported attacks.

Read More: The murders that changed the face of Dublin's gangland forever

2015 was the safest on record with just 208 firearms crimes. There were just eight gun murders last year including the shooting of Paul Kavanagh last April by the Christy Kinahan crime gang.

But Andrew Johnson says one is too many. He has called for greater resources for gardai investigating firearms crimes.

“There needs to be tighter control on guns. The gardai need a cold case unit for gangland alone. 

"These crimes are simply not being solved.”

Describing his brother’s killers as “cowards” Andrew said his family is haunted by the 2013 death. Gardai believe the hitmen mistook Mr Johnson for another man after he took the wrong coat home from a night out in Clondalkin.

His killers fired over a dozen bullets into his body from at least two guns.

“It was his birthday. Then there is the day he died and Christmas. So every three months there is a darkness. It is really hard for my family to deal with this.

“Nobody has been charged with Dean’s murder and I would be worried that nobody ever will be.”

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