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Killer caught dating online from cell sent to tougher jail

A KILLER exposed for using dating sites behind bars has been moved to a tougher prison.

Drug dealer killer Michael Hodgins (40) was caught with an illegal mobile phone in prison after a Herald investigation that he was using an online dating site while in jail.

Hodgins was found with the phone in Shelton Abbey Open Prison and has now been transferred back to the far tougher Wheatfield Prison in Dublin.

A jail insider explained: "Of course, it is a shame for him as he has been drug free and has completed a number of prison programmes.

"But the attitude of management in Shelton Abbey is very much zero tolerance to the kind of stuff that Hodgins was getting up to online and it was strongly considered that he breached the trust that was placed in him."

Sources had revealed that that Hodgins -- who shot dead a close pal of Lord Henry Mountcharles, the owner of Slane Castle, in 1989 -- had been using a false identity to attract female admirers.

It is understood that he had posted up a false profile photo and false information about himself on the plentyoffish.com dating website and also had been using Facebook.

Former junkie Hodgins became a household name back in 1989 when he shot dead Slane Castle gamekeeper Tim Kidman (27) in a crime that shocked the nation.

The killer, from Pearse Park, Drogheda, Co Louth, fired five shots at the gamekeeper -- the final one killing him. Others blasted him in the chest, jaw and arms.

A jury found Hodgins, then aged 19, not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter. He was jailed for 12 years.

Hodgins is now serving a nine-year jail sentence that was imposed at Dundalk Circuit Court in June 2006, after he was caught with over €13,000 worth of cocaine and amphetamines in his Drogheda home.

Over €170,000 in cash was also found in a code-locked briefcase hidden underneath a bath in the house.

Gardai raided the house and discovered the bundles of cash held together with elastic bands and masking tape.

Hodgins is not due for release until late next year and it is not known if he will ever be let back to the minimum security jail.