herald

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Gang feud victim's brother found with 'Snow Blow' stash

A 27-year-old man whose brother was killed in a bitter gangland feud has admitted possession of a large haul of the illegal head shop drug nicknamed 'Snow Blow'.

Thomas 'Nicky' McConnell who is originally from Ballymun, north Dublin, will be sentenced at a later date in relation to the offence.

McConnell disputes the value that the State has put on the drugs haul but both sides agree that it is less than €13,000.

Further tests need to be carried out on the 'Snow Blow' before an agreement is reached on the value of the drugs.

The case has been adjourned to a date in late November.

'Nicky' McConnell, who now lives in Finglas, appeared before Judge Patricia Ryan at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

He was charged with unlawful possession of drugs and possession of drugs for the purpose of sale or supply at Ladycove, Palmer Road, Rush, north Co Dublin, on October 12, 2010.

'Snow Blow', also known as mephedrone, was sold in head shops until the ban on psychoactive products. It mimics the effects of cocaine, ecstasy or amphetamine.

Nicky's older brother Ian McConnell (28) was shot at close range in the back of the head at a Ballymun tower block in Dublin in December 2005.

He was gunned down on the first-floor landing of a block of flats at Shangan Road in north Dublin in the early hours of December 11, 2005. He died from a single gunshot wound.

In February 2007, Stephen Kelly (27) of Balcurris Road in Ballymun was convicted by a jury of the murder.

As the jury delivered its unanimous verdict, Kelly rose to his feet and shouted "shut the f*** up" at members of the McConnell family.

The jury quickly left the courtroom and after a short adjournment, Justice Kevin O'Higgins sentenced Kelly to life in prison. Kelly replied: "I'll take that on my back."

An eyewitness had told the jury that she saw Kelly carry out the shooting.

She told prosecutor Michael O'Higgins she had been drinking at the block of flats with Ian McConnell.

"I was just standing there and I was talking to Ian. When I turned around I was in shock, because he's just got shot on the ground, dead," she said.

She said the person who fired the shot was standing about two feet away. "He ran up and shot him, bang. It could have been me."

During a series of interviews with gardai, which lasted more than 16 hours, Kelly eventually confessed to having organised the hit but consistently denied he was the man to pull the trigger.

He told detectives the only reason he had gone to the scene was because Ian McConnell had previously shot him in the back.

kfoy@herald.ie

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