herald

Saturday 23 August 2014

Truth behind 'scared' raider who carried The Don's coffin

HE IS the major league gangster who tried to portray himself as a terrified foot-soldier forced to take part in a highly organised cash-in-transit raid.

But in truth Joe Warren was a senior member of a gang led by slain mobster Eamon 'The Don' Dunne (34) -- a crime boss so bad that even his own mates nicknamed him 'Evil Head'.

Destiny finally caught up with Ballymun hardman Warren yesterday when a jury convicted him of conspiring with Dunne and four other criminals, including Alan 'Fatpuss' Bradley, to raid a cash-in-transit van in Co Kildare five years ago.

In a previous trial, the jury failed to reach a verdict after Warren (30) of Belclare Crescent, Ballymun, argued that he was under duress from Dunne to get involved in the raid.



Debt

In an attempt to avoid the strong arm of the law, Warren said he got a Skoda Octavia from Dunne "on tick" and when he was slow to pay back the debt Dunne told him he had no option but to get involved in the 2007 raid heist

If he had refused, Warren claimed Dunne had warned him that he would "be on top of Marlo" -- a reference to crimelord Martin 'Marlo' Hyland who Dunne was involved in murdering. Warren earnestly told the Circuit Criminal Court that Dunne chillingly warned he would "be sent to God's house" if he didn't do as instructed.

At that time,Dunne was a gangster and "was a very, very serious man".

Warren told the court that newspapers had reported how Dunne had killed Hyland and was responsible for "20 murders".

Such was the pressure exerted by Dunne that Warren tried to convince the court that he would have done anything "just to keep him happy".

Crucially this included sourcing a working consaw in the days leading up to the raid.

"I did not want to be going in on top of Marlo or that young lad, Campbell or Baiba Saulite. I think he was arrested for killing Baiba Saulite," Warren said.

But in reality Warren was not afraid of Dunne -- the hood was widely photographed in newspapers carrying The Don's coffin after he was shot dead in a Cabra pub in April, 2010.

These were not the actions of someone who was in grave fear of someone else, the prosecution argued. Days earlier gardai had noticed Warren arriving at the scene of Dunne's murder wearing a bulletproof vest in an "agitated state" because his friend had been murdered.

A few months earlier, Warren was spotted by detectives in the company of Dunne at a funeral in Ballymun -- where the two men talked in a relaxed fashion.

But perhaps the most damning evidence -- which destroyed Warren's bizarre claims that he was forced to take part in the heist -- was when gardai analysed Dunne and Warren's phones and discovered 'The Don' had received pictures of a naked woman from Warren on the morning of the botched cash-in-transit heist on November 2, 2007.

The images, one depicting the genitals of an unknown woman and the second, showing a woman standing in her underwear with a phone in her hand, looking into the camera, had the following text message attached: "That will wake wee up, save that for ye x."

This was seen as unlikely behaviour for a man claiming to be in fear.

Expert analysis also showed there were three calls from Dunne's phone to Warren's number and 14 calls from Warren's number to Dunne's phone.

When it came to the crunch, Warren's bogus defence was blown apart and he was found guilty. He was remanded in custody and will be sentenced next week.

kfoy@herald.ie

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