Estonian hitman for crime cartel gets six years
An Estonian hitman who was contracted by an international crime cartel - and boasted to his associates in coded text messages that he would take out his target with "one shot to the head" - has been jailed for six years.
Speaking in the Special Criminal Court yesterday, Mr Justice Tony Hunt said that Imre Arakas agreed to the "vital role" of pulling the trigger and that he had been prepared to offer his "own detail" on how the murder was to be performed.
"He was ready, willing and able in this dedicated role," said the judge.
Arakas (60) is an ex-wrestler and also a former Estonian separatist with an address in Tallinn.
The court heard he had been "scarred and marked deeply" by his imprisonment in Russia.
The contract killer bought a wig and used an encrypted phone to receive information about the movements and location of James Gately in Northern Ireland.
He also requested a silencer.
Last month he admitted to conspiring with others not before the court to murder Gately between April 3 and April 4 last year.
Mr Justice Hunt said: "This murder was planned in a very sophisticated manner and in the context of an on-going feud."