herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

I pretended to be dead on third shot - John Gilligan

John Gilligan
John Gilligan

PARANOID drug trafficker John Gilligan said he doesn't know who his enemies are following the failed attempt on his life.

The gangster has broken his silence after being gunned down in March this year, admitting that he survived the assassination attempt by playing dead.

The 62-year-old was shot four times in his brother's Clondalkin home and shot four times.

"I hit my head off the ground and pretended I was dead. I actually cheated death by playing dead,"Gilligan said.

Blood

Describing the moment when the gunmen entered, he said: "I was sitting in the front room and I saw the two gunmen come to the front door.

"I thought the door was locked but it was actually open.

"I ran to the hallway, I was trying to make my way out to the back garden and over the back wall. The first gunman had an ordinary weapon and the second had an automatic weapon. The man with the automatic didn't shoot at all.

"I was shot in the back of the leg but just kept running. The second shot hit me in the side and that one went into my stomach," he said.

The mobster said that he could see there was a lot of blood.

Gilligan was rushed to Connolly Hospital where he was in a serious condition.

"I don't know who my enemies are and that is the fearful thing. I have no idea why these people wanted to kill me, I was totally gobsmacked," said Gilligan who subsequently fled the country in March.

He is currently hiding out in the UK where he is receiving treatment for his injuries.

He claims he still has a number of bullets lodged in his body since the shooting.

"I'm still feeling shook-up since the shooting but I am fairly fresh and in good spirits.

"I can come home whenever I like. I have enough friends in Ireland still to guarantee my safety," he said in an interview with a Sunday newspaper .

Meanwhile, it's a new beginning for the equestrian centre which was formerly owned by Gilligan, which has now opened again under a new owner.

It emerged earlier this year that the Jessbrook Equestrian Centre, which was seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau, had been sold.

Jumping

The official grand opening of the new centre - now called the Emerald International Equestrian Centre - will take place in Kildare at a three-day event next month beginning Friday 14 November.

Riders were given a opportunity to see its impressive facilities when the gates were thrown open yesterday for an outdoor jumping event.

Owner James Buckley has previously said: "This is the beginning of a new chapter for the place."

It is set on 55 acres, with an indoor and outdoor arena.

fdillon@herald.ie

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