Wednesday 19 June 2019

Convicted drug dealer has ear hacked off in attack over suspected drug debt

The incident happened at the Basin Street Flats in Dublin
The incident happened at the Basin Street Flats in Dublin

Robin Schiller and Ken Foy

A convicted drug dealer has had part of his ear hacked off in an attack over a suspected drug debt.

Dublin criminal Stuart Behan (39) suffered extensive injuries after being assaulted in the Basin Street flats complex in the south inner city by a man armed with a Stanley knife blade.

It is the second time this month that a criminal has lost a large part of their ear in an attack in the area.

On August 1, Mark Burke had almost all of his ear severed after being attacked in Whitefriar Gardens.

However, despite both attacks being carried out close to one another, it is not believed that they are directly connected.

Instead, detectives are probing whether Behan was attacked after building up a drug debt with a south inner city drug gang.

A source said Behan, who was jailed for nine years when he was a teenager after being caught with a large amount of heroin, was once considered a significant player in the capital.

However, in recent years he has struggled with an apparent heroin addiction and is now mainly involved in petty crime.

“In the past he was connected to criminals involved in the Crumlin-Drimnagh feud, and his past convictions match his involvement in the drug-dealing trade,” the source said.

“But recently, in an ironic twist, he has become addicted to the drug he once sold around Dublin, and isn’t as feared as he once was.”

Gardai believe that the attack on Monday was ordered on behalf of criminals once involved in the Crumlin-Drimnagh feud.

Although not believed to be aligned to any side, Behan is related to convicted heroin dealer Karl Dempsey.

In 1998, Behan was jailed for nine years after admitting being in possession of heroin for sale or supply on dates in 1996 and 1997.

Behan, of Ashling Grove, Drimnagh, admitted having heroin valued at IR£6,000, £3,000 and £1,600 for sale or supply at various points in Dublin. Gardai are also continuing their investigation into the attack on Burke, who is aged in his 40s.

The incident happened at around 9am following a drug-fuelled house party in the Whitefriar Gardens area.

A vicious criminal who was arrested over the incident was one of at least three people who gardai suspect were involved in the attack.

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