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Career criminal blasted in spine by drugs gang

A 39-year-old man was lucky to escape with his life when he was shot with a shotgun.

Career criminal Jonathan Burke was being treated for severe injuries at St Vincent's Hospital today after the gun attack which happened at midnight.

Jonathan Burke - who was only recently released from jail - suffered spinal injuries as well as six other wounds to his upper body after the shooting at a house in the Heatherwood estate in Bray, Co Wicklow.

He was released from prison a fortnight ago and gardai are working on the theory that a dangerous local drugs gang - who are led by a convicted killer - are behind the hit.

The same gang are the chief suspects for another non-fatal gun attack in Bray last August.

A 41-year-old woman who was in the house was uninjured in the gun attack.

A neighbour said that there was a lot of activity outside the house during a 20 minute period before the shooting.

"There was a lot walking around outside and activity outside the house at about 12 last night. I was wondering what was going on and then it went all quiet before the three gunshots went off.

"They kept walking past my house, I think that they were trying to drum up the courage to do it," she said.

Burke who is originally from the Ashlawn Court estate in Bray is known to gardai and has multiple convictions for drugs, robberies and burglaries.

He has served a number of jail sentences and has even managed to run into trouble in Wheatfield Prison where he was caught with a mobile phone and also made an escape attempt.

He was one of the first people to be convicted of having a phone in jail and received a one month sentence for this offence in August 2007.

One of the most serious convictions of the former heroin addict dates to April 2008, when he was jailed for five years for his part in multiple armed robberies at pharmacies in Greystones and Enniskerry in Co Wicklow.