Sunday 25 August 2019

'If he survives we won't get paid' - garda tapes reveal would-be hitmen planning gangland assassination of Gary Hanley

Alan Wilson
Alan Wilson
Gary Hanley
Eimear Cotter

Eimear Cotter

Two criminals who were hired by an organised crime gang to kill a man were secretly recorded by detectives as they planned the hit, a court heard.

Alan Wilson (40) told his accomplice Joseph Kelly (39) to "do what you have to do" in relation to the plan to kill Gary Hanley.

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

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

Both men knew Mr Hanley's house had a bullet-proof door. "I don’t like hanging around for anyone as that is how you get caught," Wilson was heard saying on the recordings.

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.

I don’t like hanging around for anyone as that is how you get caught. Alan Wilson

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.

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

Gary Hanley

The men had their cases heard separately at the Special Criminal Court, after Wilson's lawyer James Dwyer SC said there were "logistical difficulties in having the two in court together".

Wilson, of New Street Gardens, Dublin 8, and Kelly, from Kilworth Road in Drimnagh, previously admitted to conspiring with other named individuals to murder Mr Hanley at a location within the State 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.

Detective Superintendent David Gallagher told Sean Gillane SC, prosecuting, that gardai set up a surveillance operation in September 2017 after they received information that a Seat Leon with false cloned registration plates had been spotted in the Goldenbridge area of Dublin.

Supt Gallagher said an operation was set up by the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau focusing on a number of vehicles and individuals.

He said that Gary Hanley was subsequently identified as the target and on September 17, 2017 two tracking devices were found under his partner's car.

Supt Gallagher said Kelly was responsible for the vehicles, in relation to moving them, securing parking locations, filling them with petrol and scouting routes.

A number of audio clips were read out to the court. In one, Kelly asked about a "burn spot" and Wilson said he'd show him. "We are going to drive the car in there and burn it," he said.

In further audio recordings, the men spoke about the routes and the importance of burning a van, because their DNA was on it.

In relation to Joseph Kelly, the court heard he had 64 previous convictions, and had previously received a lengthy sentence for possession of a pipe bomb.

By November 6, 2017, gardai believed an attack on Mr Hanley was imminent and Supt Gallagher said gardai employed an intervention strategy, 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.

Defence counsel James Dwyer SC asked the court to give Wilson credit for an early guilty plea and while he played a significant role, he was not at the “top of the chain of command”.

Mr Dwyer said Wilson was no longer associating with the people he had been associating with.

He said Wilson had had a difficult time in custody, had suffered a number of health issues, and had been assaulted.

Mr Dwyer said Wilson was determined to move away from the life he'd been living, and he had written a letter to the court.

In the letter, Wilson apologised unreservedly for his actions and to those affected by his actions, saying he regretted aiding the gang and "should have known better".

Wilson said he was blinded at the time to the ramifications his involvement would have and he truly regretted his actions.

In relation to Joseph Kelly, the court heard he had 64 previous convictions, and had previously received a lengthy sentence for possession of a pipe bomb.

Giolliosa O Lideadha SC, for Kelly, said his client had a very serious heroin problem and this was at the root of his offending behaviour.

Mr O Lideadha said Kelly had spent the vast majority of his adult life in prison. He continued to have the support of his partner.

Mr O Lideadha said Kelly was sent to Oberstown as a teenager, and while he accepted he was "no angel at 14", his life went into a serious downward spiral after his release from the centre.

His drug abuse worsened as the years went on, exacerbated by the death of his brother in 2010 and his sister in 2013. Mr O Lideadha said Kelly had discovered his brother's body.

The court heard that Kelly felt shame about the impact his offending behaviour has had on his family.

He had suffered serious health difficulties, in part due to his drug and alcohol use, and had battled cancer.

Kelly had also written a letter to the court, Mr O Lideadha said.

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

Mr O Lideadha asked the court to structure a sentence in such a way that would encourage rehabilitation.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, with Judge Martin Nolan and Judge Ann Ryan, said they will deliver sentence on July 29.

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