herald

Thursday 20 June 2019

Gang hardman who fled RIRA threats returns

"HE has been spotted working out at a gym in the Tallaght area fairly regularly and he is looking in top shape," said a source.

Rice's most serious conviction was when he was jailed for 10 years in July 1995, after he pleaded guilty to the armed robbery of a bank in which shots were fired.

Tallaght man Rice escaped the scene on horseback after the incident in which a security guard was kicked and beaten on the head with a hammer.

Sources believe that he has continued to be involved in crime since being released.

His most serious brush with the law was when Rice was arrested by gardai investigating a kidnap and torture incident at a house in Lucan in October of last year.

The victim was beaten and scalded with boiling water but refused to make a complaint to gardai over the attack.

The man had been abducted from his home near Magheraflet, Co Derry, and then brought across the border to a house in Dublin.

He managed to escape from the property at Tandy's Lane in Lucan after his captors fell asleep.

The victim staggered to Lucan Garda Station half-naked and covered in blood and raised the alarm. In a matter of minutes a large number of patrol cars were on the scene and three men were arrested.

Rice was released after spending two days in garda custody and will not face charges in relation to the incident.

Among Rice's key associates are a notorious heroin dealer from the south inner city who can't be named here because he is facing serious gang related charges.

This feared 26-year-old criminal was previously jailed for eight years with two suspended after he was caught with heroin worth more than €400,000.



RINGLEADER

Rice is also strongly linked to members of 'Fat' Freddie Thompson's gang and Paul 'Hippo' Ward -- the Crumlin- based criminal who was convicted of the murder of crime journalist Veronica Guerin.

Ward (47) was handed a life sentence in 1998 after being found guilty of planning the murder of Veronica, but his conviction was later quashed when the Court of Criminal Appeal ruled that too much weight had been given to the evidence of supergrass Charles Bowden.

Ward was also a ringleader in the Mountjoy Prison riots of 1997, and had to serve 12 years for his part in the stand-off.

kfoy@herald.ie

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