Gun found in Gilligan arrest 'highly unlikely' to be linked to Veronica Guerin

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The brother of journalist Veronica Guerin believes it’s “highly unlikely” the gun seized during John Gilligan’s arrest in Spain was used to murder his sister.

Spanish police stated yesterday the Magnum was stashed like “a souvenir” in the garden of the 68-year-old’s Costa Blanca villa.

Jimmy Guerin said even if it proves to be the weapon that killed Veronica, he fears Gilligan will not face justice as he has already been tried and acquitted of the gangland slaying.

Speaking to the Irish Sunday Mirror, Mr Guerin said: “I find it highly unlikely it will prove to be the gun that was used.

“In any case, he has already stood trial for Veronica’s murder over here so all it would come to would be an added sentence to the one he might receive over there.

“You never get [justice] if you get him for other crimes but at least you see justice continuing to be handed out to him.”

Police in Spain are continuing to quiz the convicted drug lord about a marijuana and pills drug route he is suspected of setting up from the Costas to Ireland.

The Irish Sunday Mirror understands investigators were listening in with bugs and phone taps on the gang.

The weapon seized at Irish crime lord Gilligan’s home in Torrevieja, near Alicante, on Tuesday is a Colt Python .357 Magnum – an identical firearm to the one said to have been used to gun down mum-of-one Ms Guerin, 36.

The serial number had been erased from the weapon.

Spanish police told how it would take months to determine if it was used by the hitman who shot the reporter.

One well-placed Spanish source said: “On one hand it wouldn’t make sense for Gilligan to keep the murder weapon at his home because it would incriminate him.

“But this gun was not being kept to use, quite the contrary.

“It had been hidden by someone who had placed it in a hole they dug in the ground and covered with gravel and a type of cloth you use to stop weeds coming through before more gravel was piled on top.

“Normally, criminals keep their guns in places they can easily reach them like a bedside drawer.

“But this one was being kept as if it were a souvenir by someone who didn’t want to part company with it – and outside rather than inside where it could easily be found, and well-hidden. It took a lot of work to find it.”

Another insider added: “The Colt Python is not a common weapon like a Glock or a Smith & Wesson or a Sig Sauer.

“It’s a very large, cumbersome revolver which is not easy to hide and the sort of weapon you see very rarely and the .357 Magnum is not a calibre that is sold easily.”

One highly-experienced Spanish officer specialising in fighting organised crime revealed he had only seen two guns like it in the past 20 years.

He added: “Spanish police will already be in contact with gardai and they will obtain the projectiles recovered from Veronica Guerin’s autopsy.

“The work won’t be quick because of the time it takes for the projectiles to be recovered in Ireland and those projectiles or the ballistics tests done at the time sent to Spain so police experts here can write up a report for the investigating judge.

“The fact that the weapon is so rare and the fact it’s the very same make and model as the one used in the Irish journalist’s murder has got to make it very possible it is the murder weapon.

“If we were talking about cars then you could equate this Colt Python to a Ferrari F40.

“We’re not talking about a Ford Focus or a Volkswagen Golf.”

Three Irish nationals, including Gilligan and his son Darren, were among the six people arrested at the villa in Torrevieja, near Alicante.

Gilligan has not yet been formally charged with any crime but charges are laid shortly before trial in Spain.

He can be held on remand for up to four years without trial, although it is normal for most suspects to be released on bail after a maximum of two years.

Source: Dublin News