| 3.6°C Dublin

slow coach How we tricked John Traynor into giving up his hideout...with promise of Tesco clubcard points

The Coach had earned a reputation as a ‘slippery’ and smart criminal who often outwitted both the police and his rivals.

Close

John Traynor, who died last week, told John Gilligan of Veronica’s movements on the day she was shot dead

John Traynor, who died last week, told John Gilligan of Veronica’s movements on the day she was shot dead

John Traynor, who died last week, told John Gilligan of Veronica’s movements on the day she was shot dead

John ‘The Coach’ Traynor was finally tracked down by the Sunday World to his UK bolthole in 2013 – after he gave up the location of his secret hideout for Tesco clubcard points. 

Veteran gangster Traynor passed away in a hospice in Kent last month after a long battle with chronic illness.

During his long criminal career, Traynor (71) had played a key role in some of Ireland’s most infamous crimes and was a key associate of both Martin ‘The General’ Cahill and John Gilligan.

The Coach had earned a reputation as a ‘slippery’ and smart criminal who often outwitted both the police and his rivals.

However, a new Crime World podcast reveals how Traynor, on one occasion, didn’t live up to his reputation for being smarter than the average criminal.

Despite his notoriety, by 2013, Traynor had gone underground and had not been tracked down by any media organisation for more than a decade.

But, speaking on the Crime World podcast, Nicola Tallant reveals how Traynor actually gave out his address in Margate over the phone to former Sunday World journalist Mick McCaffrey.

Struggling to find out where The Coach was living, McCaffrey managed to convince Traynor that he was working for supermarket giant Tesco and had points for his card.

Nicola Tallant says: “He outsmarted the old fox, who gave him his full address and that's how The Sunday World tracked him down.”

Speaking in 2013, Traynor praised the ingenuity of our reporter in tracing his whereabouts.

“Fair play to you for finding me and I always knew that the day would come,” a shocked Traynor said at the time.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

Close

Veronica Guerin pictured the week before her death with John, ‘The Coach’ Traynor. Picture by Brian Farrell

Veronica Guerin pictured the week before her death with John, ‘The Coach’ Traynor. Picture by Brian Farrell

Veronica Guerin pictured the week before her death with John, ‘The Coach’ Traynor. Picture by Brian Farrell

"I knew people would be looking for me because there will be a massive interest in the Veronica murder because Gilligan is due out soon.

"It’s hard to believe that Veronica is 17 years dead. I still feel very sorry for her poor family.

“I have my own feelings about Mr Gilligan and have dedicated a chapter in my book to him. I am not interested in making money from it, but just want to set the record straight because a lot of lies have been written about me over the years.

“I think it will surprise a lot of people and it will be worth reading, but I might wait until I die to have it released. I’m not going anywhere yet, but I am getting older and just want to get on with my life,” he added.

Traynor had been was forced into permanent exile following the murder of journalist Veronica Guerin in 1996.

The convicted bearer bonds thief was named in court by drug trafficker and gang boss John Gilligan as the man responsible for Ms Guerin’s death.

Gardaí believe Traynor, one of Ms Guerin’s underworld sources, passed on information of her whereabouts on the day of her murder in June 1996.

Traynor fled to Amsterdam after the killing and was arrested there with Brian Meehan in 1997. Meehan was extradited back to Ireland and later convicted of Ms Guerin’s murder but Traynor wasn’t sparking suspicions he was an informant.

He was arrested again the Netherlands in 2010 and extradited to the UK to serve a sentence there in relation to a bond scam.

Traynor told the Sunday World he would never return to Ireland as he believed he would be arrested, not for mother-of-one Ms Guerin’s murder, but for tax offences.

“It’s not so much being afraid they will try to charge me over Veronica, because I don’t think they can, but no doubt they would arrest me for it,” he said.

“If I set foot in the country I will be arrested and sent to jail for a few years for not paying my taxes. It is more for that reason that I will never go back.”

In 2016, on the 20th anniversary of the murder, Traynor again spoke to Nicola Tallant from a “grim flat” in the same English seaside town.

“I don't feel sympathy too often, especially for people who are suspected of being involved in the murder of Veronica Guerin, but as I had approached him, he almost became an old man,” Nicola remembers.

“He was desperately trying to get into the apartment and away from me. I was kind of hoping to God he wasn't going to have a heart attack in front of me. He was really red in the face and he was sweating.

“I remember afterwards feeling a little bit bad. I found a contact of mine who knew him really well and I said to him, ‘gosh, it’s like he's nothing, it’s like he's almost scared’.

“There was just this silence on the end the phone and my contact said to me, ‘don’t go back, he would attack you in a second’.”

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Top Videos





Privacy