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Alan Wilson claims he was taking instructions from dissident republicans when he plotted triple murder

admin | November 29, 2021

Alan Wilson, a member of the Kinahan criminal gang, has claimed that he was taking instructions from dissident republicans when he provided guns and getaway cars that were used in the attempted murders of three men at the Player’s Lounge in 2010.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) last week agreed to drop three attempted murder charges against Wilson when he pleaded guilty at the Special Criminal Court to conspiracy to murder. Inspector Liam Donoghue today told prosecution counsel Ronan Kennedy SC that Wilson had written a letter to the DPP admitting to involvement in the planning and organisation of the Player’s Lounge murder attempts.

In the letter, Wilson said he sourced the firearms and vehicles used and provided information about the getaway route and where to burn out the Volkswagen Golf used by the shooter.

‘Sinister’ Wilson denied that he was the gunman or that he was in the Volkswagen Golf. He said he was acting on the instructions of dissident republicans and accepts that his role as a planner makes his involvement “deeper and more sinister”.

Wilson (42), with a last address at New Street Gardens, Dublin 8, pleaded guilty last week to conspiracy to murder persons unknown on July 26th, 2010, contrary to Section 71 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006.

He also pleaded guilty to an offence under the Firearms Act of possession of a .38 calibre Smith & Wesson revolver and a .32 calibre Zastava semi-automatic pistol on dates between July 24th and July 26th, 2010, in circumstances that give rise to the reasonable inference that he possessed them for an unlawful purpose.

Wilson had pleaded not guilty to the attempted murders of Brian Masterson, Wayne Barrett and Austin Purcell at The Player’s Lounge Public House, Fairview Strand, Fairview, Dublin 3 on July 26th, 2010.

That charge has been dropped. Mr Kennedy, for the prosecution, told the court that Mr Barrett and Mr Purcell had written victim impact statements but did not want them read out in court. Mr Barrett was present in court but asked that his privacy be respected.

Inspector Donoghue said that on the night of the shooting Mr Barrett was working as a doorman at the Player’s Lounge and was having a conversation with the other two victims on the footpath near the pub’s front door.

CCTV footage showed that at about 12.30am a man got out of a Volkswagen Golf dressed in black clothing and holding a gun in each hand. He ran towards the pub and fired a number of shots targeting the three men.

Mr Barrett was the first to fall to the ground before the gunman fired at Mr Masterson and then Mr Purcell. Inspector Donoghue said Mr Barrett was shot in the head, left buttock and thigh, Mr Purcell was shot in the chest, left forearm, groin and right foot, while Mr Masterson suffered a gunshot wound to the lower back and another to his right forearm.

The gunman escaped and was driven away in the Golf which was later found burned out on nearby St Stephen’s Lane.

By 2017 gardaí had identified Wilson as a member of the Kinahan crime gang and members of the National Surveillance Unit (NSU) were watching him and other known gang members as they planned the murder of Gary Hanley.

The NSU planted listening devices in two vans being used by the gang and overheard Wilson allegedly admitting to the Player’s Lounge Shooting. Inspector Donoghue said that when gardaí played those recordings to Wilson following his arrest in 2018, he told gardaí: “I may have said it but I didn’t do it.”

He later accepted that he had said what was on the recording but told gardai he was trying to “impress” the person with whom he was speaking. He insisted he did not fire the shots, was not in the Volkswagen Golf and had nothing to do with what happened at the Player’s Lounge, the inspector said.

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Inspector Donoghue said the recordings revealed that Wilson was a “meticulous” planner who engaged in little idle chitchat. He was overheard at one point counting traffic lights and displayed that he was forensically aware, the inspector said.

Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act In 2019 Wilson pleaded guilty to conspiring to murder Gary Hanley at a location within the State between September 15th and November 6th, 2017. He was jailed for six years by the Special Criminal Court and is due for release from that sentence in May next year. Inspector Donoghue said Wilson’s only other conviction was at the District Court under the Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act.

Inspector Donoghue agreed with Wilson’s barrister Keith Spencer BL that Wilson has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which is likely to make his time in prison more difficult.

Ms Justice Tara Burns, presiding, with Judge James Faughnan and Judge Sinéad Ní Chúlacháin, will hear pleas in mitigation from Wilson’s senior barrister Padraig Dwyer before they pass sentence on December 15th.

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