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James 'Whitey' Bulger: Boston mob boss who sent IRA guns given life sentence



The Boston mob boss who helped arm the IRA has been sentenced to life in prison for 11 killings and a string of other charges including extortion and money laundering.

James 'Whitey' Bulger called his trial this summer a sham and declined to testify.

Judge Denise Casper told Bulger in the Boston court yesterday that the 84-year-old's crimes were "heinous" and "all about money". She then sentenced the Winter Hill gang leader to two consecutive life sentences, plus five years.

The sentencing ends a sordid chapter in Boston history featuring FBI and government corruption that helped Bulger continue a reign of terror for decades.

He was a fugitive for more than 16 years until he was captured in Santa Monica, California, in 2011.

One of those Bulger was found guilty of murdering was IRA smuggler John McIntyre, a crewman on the Valhalla, a boat used to run weapons to Ireland.

Bulger's trial heard that McIntyre tried to smuggle guns and drugs to the IRA in 1984 on the Valhalla – a fishing vessel. In it was a $1m (£620,000) cargo of guns, grenades and bullets.

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Bulger and many members of his gang were of Irish descent, and a book published earlier this year claimed the FBI turned a blind eye to his IRA gun running in exchange for information about Italian Mafia families.

But in September 1984 a shipment of weapons was seized by the Irish authorities. Shortly after the Valhalla returned to Boston McIntyre disappeared and his body was not found until 2000.

An associate testified that Bulger tortured and then shot McIntyre in the head over allegations that he was an FBI informer.

Kevin Weeks told how Bulger had tortured McIntyre to extract a confession. He said Bulger asked McIntyre if he wanted a bullet in the head. "The kid said, 'Yes please'," Weeks added.

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