Wednesday 21 August 2019

'If he survives we won't get paid' - Alan Wilson and Joseph Kelly jailed for conspiring to murder Gary Hanley

Alan Wilson
Alan Wilson
Alan Wilson
Joseph Kelly pleaded guilty to conspiring to murder Gary Hanley
Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

TWO criminals contracted to kill gangland target Gary Hanley have been jailed for their part in a "widely-drawn" conspiracy to murder.

Alan Wilson (40) and Joseph Kelly (39) were sentenced at the Special Criminal Court today for plotting the hit that was foiled by gardai.

Wilson was given a six-year sentence while Kelly, who also admitted a weapons charge, was jailed for a total of 12 years.

Passing sentence, Mr Justice Tony Hunt said an "excecution-style murder" had been prevented while the intended target was nearby.

Gary Hanley
Gary Hanley

Detectives had secretly recorded the pair planning to kill Mr Hanley, with Wilson heard telling Kelly to "do what you have to do."

Kelly was also recorded saying to another person "if he survives we won't get paid" and "hit him in the chest first".

Wilson, of New Street Gardens, Dublin 8, and Kelly, from Kilworth Road in Drimnagh, admitted conspiring with other named people to murder Mr Hanley between September 15 and November 6, 2017.

Kelly had also pleaded guilty to possessing a 9mm Beretta semi-automatic pistol with intent to endanger life at Philipsburgh Avenue, Marino, Dublin 3 on November 6, 2017.

Kelly was arrested and charged after detectives intercepted a Volkswagen Caddy van in the Phibsborough area of Dublin at 8.08pm on November 6, 2017.

Officers found a bag containing a semi-automatic pistol with a silencer and 15 rounds of ammunition in the rear of the van.

Joseph Kelly pleaded guilty to conspiring to murder Gary Hanley
Joseph Kelly pleaded guilty to conspiring to murder Gary Hanley

Wilson was arrested separately at Crumlin Road, Dublin 12 at 8.25pm that same evening.

Today, Mr Justice Hunt, presiding, with Judge Martin Nolan and Judge Ann Ryan, said this was a “widely drawn conspiracy of a serious nature” and Wilson’s participation was “very extensive.”

He had “played a serious role on a consistent basis in the preparations for this crime” and was “contributing actively up to the time that he left the van, shortly before the intended murder was to take place.”

The offence happened in the context of an ongoing feud and involved long-range planning and surveillance, and the deployment of significant resources.

Wilson was “ready, willing and able” to participate and prepared to carry out his role in return for financial gain, but the judge accepted he was “not at the very top of the chain of command.”

In mitigation, his guilty plea was of significant value, as was his effective absence of previous convictions and expression of remorse.

The judge commended the gardai on their work to prevent “another execution-type murder.”

In Kelly’s case, the judge said there was no use or brandishing of a weapon, but this was only due to garda intervention.”

“It is an inevitable inference that the use of a deadly weapon was close at hand, and the intended target was nearby” Mr Justice Hunt said.

Kelly could not be characterised as an organiser of “this deadly offence” but he had clearly been prepared to assist significantly and the organisers of such enterprises depended on the participation of people in key roles, he continued.

The loaded firearm had enormous potential for death and destruction. Kelly’s principal mitigation was also his guilty plea.

The judge noted both accused were “caught red-handed.”

Wilson was jailed for six years. Kelly was given 13 and a half years for the weapons charge, with 18 months suspended. He was sentenced to another six years for conspiracy, to run concurrently.

The sentences were backdated to November 6, 2017.

In a hearing two weeks ago, Detective Superintendent David Gallagher said gardai set up a surveillance operation in September 2017 after they received information that a Seat Leon with cloned registration plates had been spotted in the Goldenbridge area.

Gary Hanley was identified as a target and two tracking devices were found under his partner's car.

Kelly was responsible for moving, parking and fuelling vehicles involved in the plot.

In audio clips, the men spoke about the routes and the importance of burning a van, because their DNA was all over it.

There was discussion as to where the attack would take place, with Kelly pushing to take Mr Hanley on the road as he walked to the gym.

Both men were aware that Mr Hanley's house had a bullet-proof door with Wilson heard saying ‘I don’t like hanging around for anyone as that is how you get caught.'

There was also a conversation in relation to “tying a rag to a pole” at a number of junctions so Kelly would know which turn to take to get to Mr Hanley's house on the day of the attack.

By November 6, 2017, gardai believed an attack on Mr Hanley was imminent and intervened, stopping a Volkswagen Caddy van in Phibsborough.

Two men, one of whom was Kelly, were arrested. A 9mm Beretta semi-automatic pistol was found in the back of the van.

The court heard that Wilson had no previous convictions.

His barrister James Dwyer SC said while Wilson played a significant role, he was not at the “top of the chain of command”.

In a letter, Wilson apologised, saying he regretted aiding the gang and "should have known better".

Kelly had 64 previous convictions and was previously jailed for possession of a pipe bomb.

Giolliosa O Lideadha SC, for Kelly, said his client had a heroin problem and had spent most of his adult life in prison. Kelly felt shame about the impact his offending behaviour has had on his family.

In a letter, Kelly did not ask for pity or sympathy, saying he knew he deserved neither, however he asked for leniency.

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