Where is John Gilligan now? | The man accused of murdering Veronica Guerin

John Gilligan

What did John Gilligan do? 

John Gilligan is an Irish gangster who went on trial and was later acquitted for the murder of investigative journalist Veronica Guerin in 2002. Guerin was reportedly working on a tip-off from an Irish politician and was also investigating Gilligan’s involvement in the drug trade in Ireland. After Guerin’s shocking murder, the police invested a lot of resources to solve the murder, including putting over 100 officers on the case. 

At the time of his murder trial, Gilligan was serving a 28-year prison sentence for the trafficking of commercial quantities of cannabis resin. He appealed the sentence, was successful and it was reduced to 20 years. 


What else happened during Gilligan’s criminal career? 

In January 2008, Gilligan appeared in court to stop the state from selling off his assets to repay his drug money. In this hearing, he accused a man called John Traynor of ordering the murder of Veronica Guerin. In October 2013, he was released after serving 17 years for drug trafficking. 

On the 1st March 2014, 2 gunmen entered the home of Gilligan’s brother and shot him numerous times. He was rushed to hospital and his condition was so bad, he was given the last rites upon arrival. However, he survived the shooting. 

On the 23rd of August 2018, Gilligan was arrested trying to board a flight from Belfast International Airport to Spain with more than €22,000 in a suitcase. He was remanded in custody after his lawyer’s application for bail was refused, clearly considering Gilligan a flight risk. 


Where is John Gilligan now? 

On 23 October 2020, Gilligan, his son and another man were arrested in Spain. Spanish police found large quantities of drugs and weapons on the men. However, Gilligan was released on bail in December 2020.

He confessed to the drugs and weapons charges in a short trial in 2023, and he was handed a fine and a suspended prison sentence. Gilligan had been facing the possibility of 8 years in prison, but a plea bargain was made, meaning the 71-year-old is once again a free man.


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