Tuesday 11 December 2018

Criminal John Gilligan travelling between Spain and England with new girlfriend who 'loves him more than life'

John Gilligan spotted in 2016 at the Jessbrook complex and inset, images Gilligan shared on social media of his new love
John Gilligan spotted in 2016 at the Jessbrook complex and inset, images Gilligan shared on social media of his new love

Nicola Tallant and Allison Bray

CRIMINAL John Gilligan has found love with a new woman who is sharing his nomadic lifestyle.

The Sunday World exclusively revealed yesterday that the convicted drug dealer is currently travelling between Ireland, Spain and the south coast of England with his new English girlfriend.

Sources said the thug met his new woman – a grandmother in her early 60s – in Alicante, where his family once ran the Judges Chamber pub.

She has reportedly introduced him to her family, saying: “I love him more than life itself.”

The woman has been spotted with Gilligan on numerous occasions and has told friends he is “a perfect gentleman” and “does nothing wrong”.

The pair are flying in and out of Ireland on a regular basis and travelling between Ireland, the UK and Spain.

Gilligan (65) had been living a reclusive lifestyle, alternating between a mobile home in the south-east of Ireland, a hotel in west Dublin and the houses of close associates.

However, over the past year he has been spending time with his new woman, who Gilligan met when he visited Spain after losing his Jessbrook bungalow in Mucklon, Co Kildare, following a drawn-out battle with the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB).

The house, beside the Jessbrook Equestrian Centre, had been the subject of a protracted campaign by Gilligan to retain ownership after the CAB spent 16 years engaged in a legal battle with his wife, Geraldine, over the equestrian centre.

Jessbrook, regarded as the biggest indoor equestrian centre in the country, was put on the market for €500,000 in 2013 after CAB seized what was once considered the crown in Gilligan’s property portfolio.

It was once valued at more than €5m.

After losing the equestrian centre, Gilligan fought tooth and nail to retain the adjacent bungalow.

He even tried to take advantage of a housing assistance payment scheme, claiming he was homeless.

After he was eventually evicted from the property a year ago, the Sunday World tracked Gilligan down to a country house in Co Roscommon.

He was later spotted at Spain’s Murcia Airport despite his claims of being broke and homeless.

Now sources have revealed that Gilligan is spending long periods in Spain, where he had always planned to retire, following his release from prison.

After he survived being shot six times while at his brother Thomas’s home in Clondalkin in March 2014, he left Ireland and lived in England, where he moved from halting site to halting site.

He returned to Ireland in 2016 when he told the courts that he and his wife had not been together for more than a decade.

Gilligan’s new girlfriend is known in the expatriate community in Alicante, where she spends her winters.

She has a number of grandchildren in the UK.

The pair have been spotted together in an English seaside village near the town of Margate, where Gilligan’s old friend John Traynor lives.

Gilligan has also been spotted at Dublin’s Shelbourne Park dog track as well as in pubs around town.

However, after the attempt on his life, it is believed he remains fearful that he will be shot if he stays in the same place for too long.

He suffered bullet wounds to his chest, hip, stomach and one of his legs when two masked men entered his brother’s home during a family celebration.

He was released from Connolly Hospital under a garda escort a fortnight later, looking frail after losing a considerable amount of weight.

He left the country immediately afterwards.

It was the second known attempt on his life after a botched hit on December 5, 2013 at the Halfway House pub near Phoenix Park when two armed men went looking for him.

They left on a motorbike and threw away their weapon after being chased by gardai.

It later emerged that Gilligan had been drinking at the nearby Hole in the Wall pub on Blackhorse Avenue.

He dismissed the incident as “a Halloween prank”, despite detectives warning him that his life was in danger after they recovered a 9mm Luger pistol following the botched assassination attempt.

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