Exposed: First images of ‘Cinderella gunman’ Leon Sharlott jailed for six years over gun haul

Criminal (32) nabbed after DNA from his Nike Air Max matched scene where gardaí found guns and ammunition

Leon Sharlott found guilty and jailed for six years over guns haul

Gerard Byrne sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison

Daniel Delaney is serving three years

Patrick O'ConnellSunday World

These are the first images of ‘Cinderella gunman’ Leon Sharlott — convicted of possession of two guns and ammunition after he was tied to a lethal weapons haul by DNA from a pair of Nike Air Max he left at the scene.

The 32-year-old, with addresses in Navan and Dublin 1, was jailed for seven years, with the final year suspended, at Wexford Circuit Court last month after he was convicted of possessing a black Glock semi-automatic pistol and a silver-coloured .38 calibre revolver in north Wexford on March 15, 2018.

Sharlott was the third of three men to be brought before the courts following a dramatic Garda raid on a council yard on the outskirts of Gorey.

His co-accused, Gerard Byrne, of Spencer Dock, Dublin 1, was also sentenced last week, to seven-and-a-half years in prison with the final 12 months suspended, after he pleaded guilty to the same offences.

Gardaí across Leinster were in a state of heightened alert at the time the weapons were seized due to a series of ongoing gun attacks and murders linked to the Hutch/Kinahan feud.

Unlike his co-accused Gerard Byrne and Daniel Delaney, Sharlott wasn’t arrested on the night of the Garda operation.

In fact, it wasn’t until two months later that investigators identified him through DNA found on the pair of Air Max runners in one of the cars used by the trio.

Gerard Byrne sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison

Sharlott pleaded not guilty. But, alongside the DNA, crucial to the case was a photograph showing the defendant with part of his ear missing, which matched evidence given by a man who gave him a lift on his way back to Dublin after the Garda operation.

The same defect with his ear, since repaired, could be seen on CCTV footage painstakingly collected from various locations.

The footage showed Sharlott preparing to come to Gorey or making his escape from the scene after eluding gardaí on the night in question.

A noticeable chunk measuring 3cm in length and 1.5 cm wide was bitten off Sharlott’s ear in an attack in a row at a carnival in Parnell Park in 2017.

Barrister John O’Kelly, appearing for the State, set the scene of the Garda raid at the temporary council yard in Millands.

He told how officers — a mix of armed support unit personnel and local gardai — arrived there in the early hours of March 15.

They found a Volkswagen Golf, along with a Volkswagen Jetta and a Nissan Qashqai, with three men present.

One of the three, Gerard Byrne was detained on the spot, while a second, Daniel Delaney, was arrested a few hours later after breaking into a camper van parked in nearby Ramsgate Village.

The third man, later identified as Sharlott escaped, but was arrested two months later.

The two guns were recovered on the night, along with matching ammunition, from the Golf.

Of the three cars connected by gardai to the case, the blue Qashqai and white Jetta, had seats that were slashed and contained Jerry cans of petrol and Zippo type lighters.

Among 43 witnesses who testified were members of the armed support units based in Newbridge or Waterford.

Officers told how they arrived at the yard to see three men in the glare of their headlights.

Byrne was immediately detained by Garda Joe Regan, while the other two, Delaney and Sharlott, fled over mounds of earth across adjoining fields.

A second arrest was made after a wet and dirty Delaney was tracked down to a camper van.

Sharlott eluded his pursuers but gardai were left with a number of items retrieved from the vehicles which were clues that led to his identification.

These included a pair of Nike Air Max runners and a pack containing several pairs of gloves, still in their wrapper.

The court learned that investigators became aware that a man had turned up at the Green’s berry farm exit on to the M11 later on the morning in question.

The man’s story was that he had been drinking and was involved in a crash and wanted to get back to Dublin.

As he had been drinking, he did not want the Gardaí involved

The stranger was dropped off at the Coyne’s Cross services where someone of the same general description showed up shortly afterwards on CCTV.

CCTV showed this individual had a chunk missing from his ear.

Footage was shown to the jury, including a sequence featuring a car transporter leaving the services area, headed for the motorway.

This vehicle was driven by Algimantes Juskenes, who said he felt sorry for the man, who had mud on his shoes and who said he had been walking all night after crashing his car.

The hitch-hiker was dropped off beside a Luas station on the south side of Dublin before Juskenes continued on to Dublin Airport.

Daniel Delaney is serving three years

Retired forensic scientist John Hoad revealed that Sharlott’s DNA profile was a perfect match to a sample taken with a swab from a pair of Air Max runners retrieved at Millands.

Mr Hoad reckoned that the chances were at least one in a thousand million that the DNA was not that of Sharlott or a member of his family. It was what he called ‘an absolute match’.

After his arrest, the accused accepted that the Air Max were his shoes but said he did not know how they came to be in the Golf.

He claimed that he had never been in Millands.

After less than four hours’ deliberation, the jury returned a unanimous 12-0 guilty verdict.

Sharlott’s co-accused, Gerard Byrne, pleaded guilty to possession of a Glock 19 semi-automatic pistol and a .38 calibre Webley revolver at Millands, Courtown Road in Gorey on March 15, 2018.

Byrne further pleaded guilty to possession of a dozen 9mm calibre Parabellum bullets and six .38 calibre bullets.

Daniel Delaney pleaded guilty and was sentenced over his role in October of last year.

He received a six-year sentence with the final three years of the term suspended.

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