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Slain gang boss Joyce link to hoax drug deal that ended in murder

A €140,000 cash demand by Traveller criminal John Paul Joyce led to a back-streets meeting in which a Dublin man was stabbed to death.

A row over an unpaid bill for two kilos of cocaine caused killer Warren Graham to set up a meeting with Paul Keegan in a Walkinstown laneway.

Keegan (42) was stabbed to death in the ensuing melee, and Graham (22) was yesterday convicted of his murder.

As he begins a life sentence the Herald can today reveal details of the background to the killing which did not emerge in court.

The meeting, based on the pretence of a drug deal, was set up by Graham and his associates to raise funds to pay a south city debt collector who was an associate of jailed ex-INLA man Declan Duffy.

The debt collector was in turn working for Coolock Traveller John Paul Joyce.

According to garda sources, Joyce had given Graham and his associates two kilograms of cocaine for sale shortly before, and had demanded payment for the drugs, believed to be around €140,000 in cash.

When Graham and his associates failed to pay over the amount, Joyce is believed to have contacted Duffy's associate to seek payment. This individual is understood to have issued threats against Graham and others.

The sources added that, in order to raise the cash, Graham and a pal arranged a hoax drugs deal, in which they would purport to hand over drugs and take cash from Keegan at a laneway behind Cherryfield Road, Walkinstown, on December 10, 2007.

Graham and an associate pretended they had 50kg of hash in the boot of their car for the men and then pulled their weapons on them in an effort to get the cash for the drugs.

But the meeting turned violent and Graham ended up stabbing Keegan.

Since the incident, John Paul Joyce has been shot dead -- over an unrelated matter. He was gunned down last January after being abducted in Coolock.

A close pal of Graham's, who was also investigated as part of the case, committed suicide last year.

A source said: "This meeting had tragic implications for many who were involved. Joyce is dead, the unknowing drug buyer is dead and Graham's mate committed suicide.

"But the whole thing shows the cross-city nature of dealing. The drugs were supplied by Joyce to Walkinstown criminals, and a south inner city crew were mixed up in the debt collection."

Graham, of Shancastle Lawn in Clondalkin, was yesterday convicted of the murder of Keegan, from Chapelizod, at the Central Criminal Court and sentenced to life in prison.

After just under six hours of deliberations, the jury found Warren Graham guilty of murdering Paul Keegan (42), in a laneway behind Cherryfield Road, Walkinstown in December 10, 2007.

They also unaimously him guilty of having an imitation firearm with intention to cause robbery on the same date.