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Sunday 22 September 2019

'Wronged criminal' had regrets but little remorse

Jason O'Brien

PATRICK 'Dutchy' Holland attempted to paint himself as an 'ordinary, decent criminal' in his last interview, claimed he was unjustly imprisoned for three of his four major sentences and again denied killing journalist Veronica Guerin.

The convicted armed robber and drug dealer also decried the "viciousness" among younger criminals in Ireland.

"From what I read in the papers, life seems to be cheap," he said in an interview to be published next month.

"In my day, you'd get a hiding as a punishment, but nowadays they'll blow you away and ask questions later."

Holland was named as the man who jumped off a motorbike when Ms Guerin's car was stopped, and fired several shots, killing her almost instantly.

He was the prime suspect in the killing of underworld figure Paddy Shanahan, and linked to the killing of Martin 'The General' Cahill. And he was named as the hitman hired by Catherine Nevin to execute her husband in the 'Black Widow' case.

But he denied anything of the sort during the interview with journalist Jason O'Toole in Landon's Wandsworth Prison last August.

"All these jobs would have been carried out by professional hit men - and I was never a professional hit man," he claimed.

"However, I did accidentally shoot an accomplice in the arse once when my gun went off during a robbery. It was a pellet gun too, I might add."

However, he was more interested in explaining how he had been wronged.

He started out as a criminal at the age of 26. He moved on to armed robbery because of an interest in guns, he said, but he never set out to hurt anyone.

Nor were claims that he was in the INLA or the IRA true, despite being jailed for possessing explosives. The explosives, were to "crack open safes".

And Dutchy, who was jailed for 20 years for dealing drugs , said he never dealt drugs, never smoked, never drank.

"The only things I'm guilty of are armed robbery and forgery," he maintained "Nothing else."

He said his main regret was being in prison when his wife, Angela, died in 2001. The couple had no children.

"If I could turn back the clock, I would change many, many things," he said. "For me, crime didn't pay. I will go to my grave with so many regrets."

'Crime Ink, Interviews with Notorious Criminals & Other Notes from the Irish Underground', by Jason O'Toole. Published by Merlin Publishing on July 1

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