Belfast Telegraph

Court told of Northern Ireland murder plot against man shot in Dublin gangland attack

By Sean O'Driscoll

A man has appeared in court in the Republic accused of trying to kill a man in Northern Ireland - just as his alleged victim was shot and seriously injured in Dublin.

Estonian Imre Arakas (58) is charged with conspiracy to kill Dublin crime figure James Gately last month.

As he was being brought to court in Dublin yesterday, Gately was shot twice at a filling station and is now in a serious condition in hospital.

Gately was wearing a bulletproof vest at the time, a security measure he decided to adopt as a result of the Hutch-Kinahan crime feud that has so far claimed 11 lives.

Gately, who was banned from driving in the Republic, pulled into the filling station yesterday in a Northern Ireland registered car and was shot twice before his attacker fled in a black car.

Arakas, with an address at Sopruse, Tallinn, Estonia, was charged in the Republic last month with conspiracy in Northern Ireland to murder Gately between April 3 and April 4.

He was arrested in Dublin on April 4 after returning from Northern Ireland.

He has not yet entered a plea.

Gardai have not yet said where exactly in Northern Ireland the murder plot was supposed to have occurred but Gately, who has 28 previous convictions, spent time in Belfast and drove a Northern Ireland registered car.

Gately is a close associate of the Hutch family.

In September 2015, he carried the coffin of Gary Hutch, who was murdered in Spain in the first killing of the long-running Hutch-Kinahan feud.

Another pall-bearer, Patrick Hutch, has been charged with the murder of David Byrne, a Kinahan associate, at a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel in early 2016.

Patrick Hutch is accused of dressing as a woman to carry out the killing along with an alleged dissident republican, Kevin Murray, from Strabane.

Both deny the charge.

Last week, the High Court in Belfast said that it would not extradite Murray (46), of Townsend Street, Strabane on murder charges because of his poor health.

It said it could review the situation in the future if his condition improves.

Gardai believe that the Kinahan gang was responsible for nine other killings in the feud, leading many Hutch associates to invest in extra security at their homes.

On April 1 of this year, Gately appeared before the Circuit Criminal Court charged with dangerous driving on the Malahide Road after evading a gardai checkpoint on May 13, 2016.

The checkpoint was one of many that have been set up in response to the Hutch-Kinahan feud.

Gardai chased after Gately's car and rammed it off the road.

Gately pleaded with the court not to take his driver's licence as he his life was under "serious threat".

The court rejected his pleas. He was convicted of dangerous driving, fined €500 and banned from driving a car for two years.

He drove away from the court on a high speed motorbike.

Three days later, the Kinahan gang launched a murder plot against him in Northern Ireland, gardai claim.

Belfast Telegraph


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