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Top gangster to serve 7 extra years in prison

A SENIOR member of one of the country's most notorious crime gangs has been given seven extra years in jail for his role in a robbery in which 42 high-powered rifles, shotguns and pistols were stolen.

Alan Freeman (32) is now serving sentences totalling 13 years after he was given a six-year sentence last month for a 2004 bank robbery.

Yesterday at Naas Circuit Court in Co Kildare, Judge Gerard Griffin pointed out that Freeman had expressed "no apologies or regret" for the terrifying aggravated burglary during which a firearms dealer and his family were held at gun and knife-point.

Freeman, of Deansrath Grove, Clondalkin and Pearse Park, Tipperary Town, and his gang, which included his younger brother Robert (29), broke into the home of licensed arms-dealer Tonnie Keevan near Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary, in the early hours of January 9, 2009.

Robert Freeman is currently serving 11 years in jail after he pleaded guilty in 2011 to four counts of false imprisonment and a charge of aggravated burglary in the shocking incident in which the masked gangsters pretended to be the IRA.

Mr Keevan and his partner Rita McCarthy, her daughter and a family friend were threatened with a sawn off shotgun and told they'd be shot.

RELEASE

The victims were tied up and locked in a gun safe for three hours before their eventual release.

The gang then made off with 42 weapons, some of which were sold on to the McCarthy-Dundon gang in Limerick.

In one of the largest ever criminal investigations carried out outside the capital, six criminals have now been convicted in a case in which 32 suspects were arrested.

Also sentenced yesterday was Darren O' Regan, who provided the Freemans with key information about Mr Keevan's business and the lay-out of the victim's property.

The court heard that Tipperary man O' Regan – a neighbour of Mr Keevan with no previous convictions and who had gotten involved with the Freeman gang because of he was in debt – was jailed for seven years with the final three suspended.

The massive investigation into the crime was led by detectives in the South East region and Sgt Barry Boland of Clonmel garda station.

At a previous court hearing, Paul 'Lamb' Moloney from Roscrea, Co Tipperary, was given a five -year suspended jail sentence after he admitted handling 20 guns of the guns stolen in the aggravated burglary.

TRANSFERRED

Following the robbery from Mr Keevan, investigating gardai established that the guns were initially moved to a location in Golden, Co Tipperary.

From here, 33 guns were transferred to Navan before the majority of the haul was transported to an empty house in Nenagh where they were handled by 'Lamb' Moloney.

Sources say that Moloney was the link between the Freeman gang and Limerick's McCarthy-Dundon gang who paid more than €30,000 to the Clondalkin mob for the weapons.

It has emerged that jailed gang leaders and John Dundon were among those arrested as part of the massive investigation when they were arrested in jail in December, 2009.

KFOY@HERALD.IE


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