“It is possible to take him down as he comes out of car….. A silencer would be good… But if the ‘dog’ is accurate it could be one shot to the head from a distance,” Imre Arakas typed and sent it to the secure number saved on the PGP encrypted phone as ‘Bon’.
“We have a tracker on the car…When he goes out we will track him live…When he is 10 minutes away get in position…he parks in the same space always,” came the reply.
Earlier, the phone had received detailed intelligence on Gately’s address in Newry, Co. Down, the geography around it and his exact movements to and from his car from another PGP registered to ‘Knife’. He forwarded the information to Arakas.
The tracker, the Special Criminal Court heard, had been placed on Gately’s car days before Arakas’ arrival in Dublin on April 3, 2017. Footage from CCTV had picked up two men, including Douglas Glynn, in the garage of the apartment complex.
So sophisticated was the hit plan that the van which they used to get to Newry had come in on the ferry from the UK some days previous and was driven across the border by Peadar Keating.
The plans were intricate, and it was all hands on deck. Surveillance was placed on Dublin Airport after gardaí received intelligence from Europol that Arakas was flying into the country from Alicante in Spain. Gardaí were working with their Spanish, Estonian and Lithuanian counterparts.
Arakas took the Aircoach to O’Connell Street and walked a rectangle around the north inner city and through residential areas.
On Moore Street he bought a wig and a mirror in a discount store. He was carrying the Blackberry which would later be photographed before it deleted remotely by a quick-thinking Detective Garda Sean O’Neill.
He was collected in the city centre at 8.20pm on the night on April 3 by Stephen Fowler in a Mercedes van with the logo ‘Blakestown Tyres’ on the side.
He was arrested the following morning when officers backed up by the Emergency Response Unit busted into a house at Blakestown Cottages.
He was in the living room standing beside a single bed that had been laid out.
The Blackberry was on a couch beside him. As Detective Garda O’Neill photographed the screen saving the encrypted text messages, it began to delete. A piece of paper with James Gately’s name and address was on the bed. The phone messages were from ‘Knife’, ‘Bon4’ and ‘Bon New’.
The first text was from Knife to Bon New and detailed the College Court apartment where Gately was living at the time and how he was driving a champagne coloured Toyota Avensis and where it was parked.
The information exchange was forwarded to Arakas who replied how he planned to travel to Newry the following day and ‘see the situation in real’.
He said he would either ‘take him down’ as he came to the car or at the front door. If they failed he would make sure the front door of the complex didn’t close so he could follow him in.
Arakas’s DNA was found on the Blackberry device and his fingerprint was found on the paper with Gately’s address and encrypted codes for access to the messages from ‘Bon New’, ‘Bon 4’, ‘Bon’ and ‘Red’. Google searches for images for ‘James Gately Dublin Criminal’ were also found on an iPhone.
The apartment complex matched the descriptions in the messages and a tracking device was found on the vehicle in space number 4 in the car park. Arakas made admissions of his own involvement while in custody and later pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kill.