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Gangland suspect who partied with John Gilligan arrested in connection with Hamid Sanambar murder

Suspect in northside killing hung out with notorious crime boss as he celebrated the 25th anniversary of journalist Veronica Guerin's death
John Gilligan

John Gilligan

Alan Sherry

A GANGLAND suspect spotted partying in Spain with John Gilligan earlier this year has been arrested by gardaí investigating the murder of Iranian hitman Hamid Sanambar in 2019.

The man, who is in his 20s and hails from the northside of Dublin, is suspected of being the getaway driver in the hit which took place outside the home of murder victim Sean Little, who had been gunned down days before Sanambar.

Associates of Little are believed to have carried out the murder after blaming Sanambar for involvement in their friend's killing. The assassination was part of a feud in north Dublin which led to a number of gun attacks that year.

The suspect left Dublin in the immediate aftermath of Sanambar's murder and moved to Spain.

Hamid Sanambar, (41) pictured as he visited the scene in Walshestown where Sean Little was shot. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM

Hamid Sanambar, (41) pictured as he visited the scene in Walshestown where Sean Little was shot. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM

The Sunday World revealed earlier this year that he was spotted hanging out with Gilligan in Torrejeva, Alicante, on the weekend of the 25th anniversary of the murder of crime journalist Veronica Guerin. The Sunday Independent crime reporter was shot six times by Gilligan's gang on June 26, 1996.

Gilligan was videoed holding a celebration ahead of the anniversary of her murder, with pals laughing and shouting "he didn't do it".

The suspect was spotted hanging out with Gilligan that same weekend.

John Gilligan

John Gilligan

The pair were also spotted drinking in Spain with convicted drug dealer Anthony Daly around the same time.

Daly (38), who is originally from Coolgreena Close in Beaumont, on Dublin's northside, has a number of drugs convictions and was jailed in 2006 after being caught with €140,000 worth of cannabis.

Daly is not suspected of any involvement in Sanambar's murder.

Sean Little

Sean Little

The man arrested on Tuesday by gardaí in Ballymun, who are investigating Sanambar's death, recently returned to Ireland.

He remained in custody last night.

While he has links to a number of serious criminals, he has no major convictions.

A garda spokesperson said: "Gardaí have arrested a man in connection with the fatal shooting of a man on Kilbarron Avenue, Coolock on the 28th May 2019. This man is currently detained at a North Dublin Garda Station under Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2007. This investigation is ongoing."

Despite this, he became involved with a group of criminals in north Dublin - including Sean Little - and gardaí suspect he acted as getaway driver in the Sanambar murder.

A number of others closely linked to Little have previously been arrested by gardaí in relation to the murder but were all later released without charge.

Little's murder sparked off a series of shootings and revenge plots on the northside of Dublin after he was shot dead in 2019.

Months earlier, his pal Zach Parker - who was also involved in the drug trade - was shot dead, with associates of a gang led by the Finglas criminal 'Mr Flashy' blamed for ordering the hit.

At the time, it was claimed that Little had planned revenge for Parker's murder and was taken out before he could do anything.

Days after that killing gardaí were dealing with another murder when Sanambar was shot dead outside Sean Little's house, where family and friends had been paying their respects.

Zach Parker

Zach Parker

Sanambar was pals with Little but rumours in the underworld suggested he may have been involved in setting him up and was taken out by Little's associates.

The suspected getaway driver also has ties to Jake Kearney (26), from Coolock Drive, Dublin 17, who was jailed for five years last year after being caught with a loaded firearm ahead of what gardaí believe was an "imminent" revenge attack by associates of Little.

Kearney was caught with a Luger-calibre Grand Power semi- automatic pistol at Oscar Traynor Road, Santry, Dublin 9, on October 30, 2019.

Kearney was described by gardaí as a "trusted member" of an organised crime gang. His mother's home was petrol bombed by rival criminals after his arrest.

Weeks before Kearney's arrest, Little's father, Stephen (48), was arrested by gardaí with a firearm which he planned to use to kill criminal figure Caolan Smyth who he blamed for his son's death.

Smyth has since been given a 20-year sentence for an attempted murder of James 'Mago' Gately in the Kinahan- Hutch feud.

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