Veronica Guerin’s brother Jimmy shares his shock at the discovery of...

The brother of the murdered journalist Veronica Guerin, Jimmy, told about his shock last night at the discovery of a gun in John Gilligan’s Spanish house.

Spanish police officers arrested the 68-year-old Dublin criminal and found the same type of weapon that was used to murder the heroic journalist in 1996.

Moment when the Spanish police arrested John Gilligan in Alicante


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Bury the found weapon in the garden
John Gilligan is taken to the police station
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John Gilligan is taken to the police station
The Colt Python weapon was covered in plastic
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The Colt Python weapon was covered in plasticPhoto credit: PA: Press Association

The Colt Python firearm was discovered when officers from the Policia Nacional in Spain came across Gilligan’s vacation hole in Alicante on Tuesday.

Speaking to the Irish Sun, Jimmy Guerin said: “It is disgusting to believe that this weapon was used in the murder of an innocent woman and was also kept as a kind of trophy.

“I don’t think the Spanish authorities would make these assumptions without believing that this could have been the weapon used in the murder of Veronica.

“If there is any scintilla of new evidence linking Gilligan to my sister’s murder, I would appreciate it.

“If the discovery leads to Gilligan’s arrest in connection with my sister’s murder, I’d appreciate that too. I would appreciate any opportunity to see him in court again in Ireland.

“I don’t think there are sane people in our society who doubt John Gilligan’s role in ordering the murder of Veronica.

“The Gardai has informed me about the development in Spain and we are just waiting to see the result of the ballistic reports.”

He added, “I’m not a bit surprised that this coward is again caught in the midst of a full organized crime investigation.”

Buried gun in the garden

Sensational video footage shows how it was found buried by officials with a metal detector in the garden of Gilligan’s block.

Cop in latex gloves found it under the gravel, where it had been carefully wrapped in a plastic bag before being buried.

Ballistic experts are now trying to determine whether it was the murder weapon that the killer Patrick ‘Dutchy’ Holland used when he shot the brave reporter Guerin on June 26, 1996.

Footage captured by the Policia Nacional showed Gilligan being handcuffed by the armed police after being ordered to kneel and then lie down on his kitchen floor.

One of the officers heard him barking, “Police, police, stand on the ground” as he ran into the villa at an unknown address on the Costa Blanca.

The fallen gangster is handcuffed and covered with a mask due to Covid 19. He is led to a waiting car. He was questioned on suspicion of possession of firearms, drug smuggling and money laundering.

Video footage also shows another man arrested by officials as part of the investigation.

As part of their investigation, Spanish police received news that three handguns recovered from Gardai in western Ireland last month had been linked to Gilligan’s new gang.

Taken into custody

Court officials confirmed that Gilligan was remanded in custody by a judge on duty after a closed-door hearing on Thursday.

He will almost certainly be on trial for alleged illegal gun possession and drug trafficking.

A source said: “The revolver was found hidden in front of the mansion where Gilligan was arrested.

“Searching large villas with a metal detector, as seen in the police video, is not uncommon for police searches.”

The other five detainees – including gangster’s son Darren – were released pending an ongoing criminal investigation after they agreed to hand over their passports and were told that they were not allowed to leave Spain.

They were also instructed to sign up every two weeks.

Sources said the other four are Irish, Spanish, Colombian and British. She should be in her late fifties.

The official said: “All six are being investigated in a criminal investigation into public health crimes, illegal possession of firearms and membership of a criminal gang.”

Public health crimes are widely used to describe drug trafficking in Spain.

NOT FORMALLY CHARGED

Gilligan has not yet been formally charged with a felony as the charges will be brought shortly before the trial in Spain.

It can take months – and in some cases years – to complete a criminal investigation of the kind that Gilligan is facing.

He can be held in custody for up to four years without trial, although it is normal for most suspects to be released on bail after a maximum of two years.

Former Detective Supt Gabriel O’Gara, who was part of the team investigating the journalist’s murder, also shared his shock at the development.

Mr. O’Gara added, “If the gun turns out to be the one that murdered Veronica, it would be a major development. I will now wait with interest to see the outcome of the ballistic reports. ”

And a former CAB investigator who helped dismantle Gilligan’s crime empire shared how he would be “amazed” if the gun were used to murder the mother of one.

They said, “Investigators have long believed that the weapon was hacked and destroyed.

“It may have been used in other murders – so why should it be kept because it could relate individuals to other murders?

“The only thing people can do now is wait and see what the ballistic reports finish.

“I think it’s time you ditched the keys to this parasite – it needs to be locked up permanently to reduce the threat from drug stocks in our community.

“Despite his age, he is a repeat offender who has destroyed hundreds of lives with his drugs over the years.”

EUROPEAN ARREST GUARANTEE

And the Irish sun shows today how the Spanish police broke into Gilligan’s property with a European arrest warrant.

The warrant was issued after Gilligan was accused three years ago of demolishing a house in Co Meath.

Although Spanish police officers were using the DRC, they had received information from the National Crime Agency in Great Britain that Gilligan was running a drug smuggling network into Great Britain and Ireland.

Once in his possession, they took back the gun, cannabis, prescription pills, and cash.

A spokesman for the Spanish National Police said: “A revolver of the same make and model was found as it was in the 1996 murder of an Irish journalist in Dublin.

“The possible connection with this crime is being investigated.”

In a statement, police described the alleged gang leader as “a well-known Irish criminal who was sentenced to 28 years in prison in 2001 for smuggling large quantities of cannabis resin into Ireland”.

They added, “He did so 17 years after referring to the judgment. Years later, he was shot four times while at his brother’s house, although he survived.

“Irish investigators have linked his organization to the 1996 murder of a journalist on the outskirts of Dublin.

“She was shot dead by two people who followed her on a motorcycle.

John Gilligan
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John Gilligan Photo credit: PA: Press Association
The brave Dublin journalist Veronica Guerin
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The brave Dublin journalist Veronica GuerinPhoto credit: Independent News and Media / Getty Images

The little crook John Gilligan is currently being arrested by the Spanish police in Alicante

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“The weapon found during the investigation in Alicante is a Colt Python, the same type of weapon with which the journalist was killed.

“An investigation is underway and the Spanish police are talking to colleagues in Ireland to see if it is the same weapon.”

Thug Gilligan was acquitted of ordering the murder of Veronica Guerin in 2001 but was sentenced to 28 years in prison for drug smuggling.

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