herald

Tuesday 17 July 2018

Arson attack family told to 'cough up €20k or else'

Feared criminal Jason ‘Jay’ O’Connor
Feared criminal Jason ‘Jay’ O’Connor

A Dublin family is being extorted for €20k in "compensation" by a drugs gang as part of an escalating local feud, which has seen a man slashed with a machete and an arson attack.

Armed gardai have been carrying out patrols in parts of Blanchardstown after a spate of violence in recent weeks, during which a family was almost burned alive in their home.

They have now been warned they must pay €20k to end the feud.

"They have been told to cough up €20,000 or else. They're trying to get out of the area as quick as possible, as the situation is getting out of hand," a source said.

One gang involved in the feuding is led by two drug-dealing brothers from the Corduff area, who have been on the radar of gardai for a number of years due to their violent nature.

Volatile

They are very closely linked to gangland criminal Jason 'Jay' O'Connor, who is considered one of the most volatile thugs in the capital.

They are in dispute with a 24-year-old from the Hartstown area, who has been convicted of armed robbery.

Sources said that the feud began several years ago when derogatory remarks were made about two of the armed robber's relatives.

A number of tit-for-tat attacks have been carried out since with violent assaults made on both male and female family members of the feuding sides.

However, the violence has escalated in recent weeks and local detectives now fear that the dispute could result in loss of life.

On February 20, the armed robber was attacked outside the Lifestyle Sports store in Blanchardstown Shopping Centre by a man armed with a machete.

He was struck across the face and suffered horrific injuries as a result.

The attacker, who gardai believe was one of the drug-dealing brothers, then fled the scene on a motorbike.

Two days later, the 24-year-old's home was targeted in an arson attack as his family slept inside.

Three hooded thugs approached the Hartstown property shortly after 6am and proceeded to throw petrol onto a car in the front drive.

They then smashed the front windows of the living room before pouring more accelerant into the house.

Shockingly, the three-man gang then attempted to set fire to the house as the family slept inside.

However, they were confronted by the armed robber - who had armed himself with a baseball bat.

Damage

They fled the scene but managed to set fire to the car, which was left completely destroyed.

Significant damage was also caused to windows and the front of the property as a result of the attack.

Gardai believe that the arson attack could have resulted in serious injury or loss of life if the gang had not been confronted by the baseball bat-wielding man.

"This was a very serious attempt, and if they weren't confronted the whole house could have been burned down as the family slept inside," a source said.

CCTV of the arson attack has also been recovered, which captured the entire incident.

The incidents are all now under investigation by detectives at Blanchardstown Garda Station, who have set up an incident room and increased patrols in the area.

Members of the Armed Support Unit have also kept an increased presence in the area, as part of the Operation Hybrid controls.

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