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Coach approach John Traynor denied setting up Veronica Guerin murder saying 'John Gilligan f**ked everything up'

'The minute it happened I knew my life was over'

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 John Traynor

John Traynor

John Traynor

Gangland figure John Traynor tried to convince the Sunday World that he didn’t set up Veronica Guerin to be murdered when we tracked him down to his English bolthole but gardai believe he tipped off the killers to her whereabouts on the day of her murder.

The 73-year-old criminal and former associate of John Gilligan passed away in Kent on Sunday, where it's understood he had been receiving palliative care in a hospice for terminal cancer.

The Sunday World interviewed Traynor when we tracked him down to a small flat in Margate, Kent, in 2016 where he was living a modest life despite his long involvement in organised crime.

Traynor, who was given the nickname the Coach, was forced into permanent exile following the murder of journalist Veronica Guerin in 1996.

The convicted 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 that led to her being shot dead in June 1996

When the Sunday World spoke to him 20 years on, he denied passing on the information.

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John Traynor

John Traynor

John Traynor

“When John Gilligan organised that murder, he f**ked everything up for us all. The minute it happened I knew my life was over.”

Traynor fled to Amsterdam after the murder 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 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.

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“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.”

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 John Gilligan

John Gilligan

John Gilligan

He also denied tipping off Gilligan’s gang about Ms Guerin’s whereabouts. “It’s a load of bo***x. I never set Veronica Guerin up to be murdered. I liked her,” he said.

There were reports that Traynor returned to Ireland in 2018 to attend his father’s funeral.

As well as being closely linked to Gilligan’s gang, Traynor was also involved with the notorious criminal Martin ‘the General’ Cahill and was linked to frauds, planning heists and drug trafficking.

At the time of her death, Traynor was seeking a High Court injunction to prevent Ms Guerin writing about his involvement in the drug trade.

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