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Behind bars Drogheda mobster's pal jailed for role in the abduction and torture of man in bathtub

"McGahon was considered the right-hand man and trusted lieutenant of (the leader of the anti-Maguire gang)"

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John 'JJ' McGahon

John 'JJ' McGahon

John 'JJ' McGahon

The right-hand man of a Drogheda feud mob boss has been jailed over the abduction of a man found stripped and beaten in a bathtub.

John 'JJ' McGahon (21) was yesterday sentenced to four-and-a-half years in jail for the false imprisonment in 2018 linked to the violent dispute.

He was arrested after the Garda Armed Support Unit forced entry to a house in the town to rescue the victim following a 999 call describing how a man had been abducted in the area.

The court heard it was McGahon who drove the car that brought Aaron Rochford (22) to a house, and he was caught on CCTV helping to remove the victim from the car and later to "bundle" him over a rear wall and into an adjacent house from where he was later rescued.

The Herald can reveal that the thug is considered a very close associate of the young criminal leading the so-called 'anti-Maguire' faction.

The mob were involved in a deadly dispute in the Louth town for more than two years, leading to four murders and dozens of shootings and fire bombings.

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The Moneymore estate

The Moneymore estate

The Moneymore estate

They were feuding with associates of Owen Maguire, who was shot and paralysed after a gun attack outside his home in July 2018.

While JJ McGahon has no previous convictions before pleading guilty to false imprisonment, he has been on the Garda radar for involvement in the feud.

A senior source said: "McGahon was considered the right-hand man and trusted lieutenant of (the leader of the anti-Maguire gang).

"He was very closely linked to him and this incident showed that he was prepared to get involved in serious crimes on behalf of the gang.

"They have had a fall from grace thanks to successful Garda operations and in recent months McGahon was left relatively isolated prior to pleading guilty and going in to custody."

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The mob boss he was working for remains on the run avoiding serious charges.

During yesterday's sentencing hearing, John 'JJ' McGahon was described as "more a follower than a leader" and was not one of the ringleaders in the abduction.

Dublin Circuit Court also heard there was no evidence he was involved in the assault on Aaron Rochford in the house.

A co-accused, Dean Thornton (23), of Beechwood Drive, Marley's Lane, Drogheda, is already serving a three-year sentence for his role.

McGahon, of Hawthorn House, Lawrences Park, Drogheda, pleaded guilty to false imprisonment of Aaron Rochford at the Moneymore Estate, Drogheda on November 11, 2018.

Gardaí were policing the estate on the night as there was a "fraught atmosphere" due to a feud.

After a call to gardaí outlined serious concerns for the safety of a man taken from the street, the armed support unit breached the front door of a house in the estate.

Mr Rochford, then 22 years old, was found by gardaí in a state of shock, naked in a bathtub and covered in blood having sustained a broken jaw and slashes to his torso and head.

Mr Rochford has since died in circumstances completely unrelated.

His grandmother Mary Rochford said Aaron was a "lovable rogue" and described going to see him in the hospital, where he was kept for a week with "horrific injuries".

She felt her "heart stopped beating" because she was so upset at how he looked with bruises and blood everywhere.

Judge Martin Nolan said that on this date there had been "some feud" in existence in Drogheda and McGahon had brought the injured party back to the house in his car, before bundling him over a back wall into a second house from where he was later rescued.

Judge Nolan gave him credit for time spent in custody.

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