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Golf club murder suspect is linked to hit on Gilligan


Evidence: Gardai examine the scene where Jay Saunders died

Evidence: Gardai examine the scene where Jay Saunders died

Evidence: Gardai examine the scene where Jay Saunders died

THE suspected driver for a botched hit on John Gilligan is being quizzed over the murder of a man with a golf club.

The 22-year-old criminal was arrested over the savage attack which killed Jay Saunders (21).

The suspect is the right hand man of a "psychopathic thug" who tried to kill exiled drug dealer Gilligan in the Halfway House last December.

He is believed to have been the getaway motorbike driver for the failed hit on the former mob boss.

He is now being questioned in Finglas Garda Station about the savage attack on the Cabra man.


Saunders was beaten to death after a St Patrick's Day party went horribly wrong near his home on Fassaugh Avenue at 7.30am yesterday.

He was chased into the street and brutally beaten around the head and upper body with the club before collapsing to the ground outside the Cabra House pub which was closed at the time.

A number of people kept him alive until emergency services arrived and rushed him to the Mater Hospital, but he was pronounced dead at 8.30am.

"This appears to be a row over drink, it was a celebration that got out of hand," a source told the Herald.

"He had obvious trauma injuries to the head and upper body."

Jay is the youngest of five children in the family that live not far from the group of shops where he was attacked.

Two men were arrested yesterday in connection with the attack.

One is a 25-year-old who is being held for withholding information about the murder.

The 22-year-old man from Finglas is believed to have brutally beaten Mr Saunders to death with a golf club.

The murder suspect whose home was raided last year as part of a separate murder investigation in Finglas is well known to gardai as "a motorbike getaway driver and someone who is heavily involved in the thefts of bikes."

Gardai are confident that he drove his close associate – a psychopathic Finglas criminal – away from the scene of a botched attempt on Gilligan's life in December.

Gilligan was not in the pub when the would-be assassin entered the Halfway House on the Navan Road on December 4 last carrying a Luger, and shouting "where's Gilligan?" He fled when he realised Gilligan wasn't there.


Gardai spotted the man trying to make his getaway on a high-powered motorbike driven by an accomplice and gave chase. The assassin threw the weapon away on the Ratoath Road, but the bike was too powerful for the squad car and escaped.

Gilligan was forced to flee the country after his pal and driver Stephen 'Dougie' Moran was shot dead in Lucan at the weekend. That killing came exactly two weeks after Gilligan survived a separate gun attack where he was shot four times.

Meanwhile the family of Saunders said that they are devastated at his death.

Only last Sunday Jay posted a message on his Facebook page saying "Paddy's Day is gonna be a messy one" but he was murdered less than 48 hours later after a booze-fuelled row.

A woman who knew Saunders well said his brother is a dancer who teaches kids dance classes in Cabra, and added the family are well known.

A distressed friend of Jay's was also comforted at the scene.