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Saturday 1 October 2016

Solicitor jailed for 'demented' plot to have three killed by hitman for €10,000 over fraud investigation

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File photo: Former Fianna F?il Cork City councillor Gary O'Flynn of Castle Court, Whitechurch, Co Cork. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Cork courts limited
File photo: Former Fianna F?il Cork City councillor Gary O'Flynn of Castle Court, Whitechurch, Co Cork. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Cork courts limited

A FORMER city councillor paid a €1,000 cash deposit to an undercover garda posing as a gangland hitman to murder a garda detective, a Revenue Commissioner and an accountant.

Gary O'Flynn (38), a son of former Fianna Fail TD Noel O'Flynn, was jailed for three years for solicitation to murder.

He apologised to the court and the three targets for his "insane and demented" behaviour.

An intended target of the €10,000 hit, Gary O'Flynn's former accountant Pat Sweeney, said: "We forgive Mr O'Flynn for putting a price on something priceless - the value and sanctity of human life."

A second intended victim, Revenue official George Ross, admitted his life was "turned upside down".

Mr Ross said he now checks his rear-view mirror in case his car is being followed and checks under the vehicle for possible explosive devices.

"I find I am constantly asking myself, what if? What if my family were present when the killer called? Would they have been harmed by him? What if, as one of my neighbour's children said to her father, the killer called to the wrong house?" he said.

The third target, Det Sgt Mary Skehan, said she found the plan "unbecoming of a man of his professional training" and said it was "cowardly and depraved".

But the officer refused to allow the threat to change her personal life or career.

O'Flynn, of Hayfield Drive, Castle Court, Whitechurch, Co Cork, hatched the plan in a desperate bid to frustrate a garda investigation into a mortgage fraud he had engaged in involving up to €693,000 from Bank of Ireland.

Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard that the bank only sanctioned the three re-mortgages of O'Flynn's Cork properties on the basis of false documents including Revenue assessments and a P60.

repaid

The mortgages are now being repaid on an interest-only basis and the court was told there is no idea what loss, if any, the bank will suffer.

The plot only came to light when a friend became so worried that he contacted the gardai.

Det Supt Sean Healy set up an elaborate operation involving a Dublin-based detective who posed as "a highly recommended" assassin as well as installing detailed protection regimes for the three targets.

Judge Sean O'Donnabhain jailed O'Flynn for five years with two suspended as he described the offences as "particularly heinous" and having brought "shame on himself and his unfortunate family".

A tape recording of O'Flynn talking about the murder plot revealed: "Revenue are going to be bamboozled if something happens like this."

Another tape heard the former politician say he would have no regrets if the trio were "disappeared and out of my life. It wouldn't bother me at all".

O'Flynn had also conducted searches on his computer about murdered gardai.

The court heard that, after paying a €1,000 cash deposit to the 'hitman' in a Cork hotel on February 15, 2013, O'Flynn panicked and withdrew from the scheme.

Gardai said O'Flynn never co-operated with their fraud investigation and, before the murder plot, made repeated unfounded complaints to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) about the officers involved including Det Sgt Skehan.

O'Flynn, a qualified solicitor, financial adviser and former Cork City Council member, pleaded guilty to six charges of mortgage theft.

He also pleaded guilty to three solicitation to murder charges relating to dates between October 1, 2012 and February 15, 2013.

All three charges involved an address on the Mallow Road in Cork.

O'Flynn apologised to the court and the three targets for his "insane and demented" behaviour. He vowed to recover from his psychiatric problems.

He has a total of 17 previous convictions including fraud and public order offences as well as possession of a knife.

Judge O'Donnabhain was told O'Flynn has a history of psychiatric issues and lived "in a fantasy world".

His "reality contact is impaired", he may be suffering from an underlying neurological disorder, may have Tourette's Syndrome and has a history of "bizarre behaviour".

His father, a veteran former TD, fought back tears as he revealed that his family were worried about his son's erratic behaviour six years ago.

"We love our son very, very much. We were very worried about him," Noel O'Flynn said.

"Our son has learned a number of lessons from recent events. We will support him 100pc."

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