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GOLDEN GIRL Sunday World Investigations Editor Nicola Tallant scoops gold for The Witness podcast

The 10-part series tells the story of Joey 'The Lips' O'Callaghan in his own words

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Joey O'Callaghan's latest podcast acts as a warning about criminal grooming

Joey O'Callaghan's latest podcast acts as a warning about criminal grooming

Joey O'Callaghan's latest podcast acts as a warning about criminal grooming

Sunday World’s Investigations Editor Nicola Tallant has scooped gold at the Digital Media Awards for her true crime podcast ‘The Witness’.

The awards, which took place at the Convention Centre in Dublin last night, highlight the best of digital media in Ireland.

The Witness is a 10-part series about the youngest person in Ireland to ever enter the State’s witness protection programme. After being placed in the programme, he was given a new identity and moved away from Ireland.

In his own words, Joey ‘The Lips’ O’Callaghan tells his life story - how he got involved with one of Dublin’s biggest drug gangs; what his life in that gang was like; and the turning point that led him to break his silence after the gang’s kingpins took it too far.

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Joey 'The Lips' O' Callaghan speaking to Nicola Tallant

Joey 'The Lips' O' Callaghan speaking to Nicola Tallant

Joey 'The Lips' O' Callaghan speaking to Nicola Tallant

The documentary podcast brings you on a journey from Joey’s childhood home in Blanchardstown where he met a milkman called Brian Kenny - a man who would change his life forever, right through to his days in witness protection, his current life and why he still lives in fear of Kenny.

In 2005, Joey, full name Joseph, gave testimony in a murder trial that helped to convict Brian Kenny and Thomas Hinchon for the murder of Jonathan O’Reilly in 2004.

24-year-old Jonathan was shot outside Cloverhill Prison as he sat in his car. Hinchon and Kenny pulled up alongside the vehicle on a motorcycle and fired three shots into the car before they fled the scene.

Once back at the gang’s bolthole in Finglas, Joey, who was not involved with the shooting, was forced to get rid of their clothes and the motorbike used. In the hours following the killing, Joey’s thoughts spiralled and he decided it was time for him to make a break for it - drowning in guilt over the young man’s death.

Kenny, who was sentenced to life in prison, recently spent a day out at a shopping centre near Loughan House open prison and is soon set to begin having overnight stays with his family.

The podcast came following a best-selling book of the same name. Written by Nicola Tallant, the book also tells Joey’s powerful story. Joey worked with trusted confidante Nicola on both the book and the podcast.

Nicola described first meeting Joey after he called her and asked to meet.

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Nicola Tallant from the Sunday World

Nicola Tallant from the Sunday World

Nicola Tallant from the Sunday World

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Nicola picked him up in a rental car and drove to the coast to chat about all things guns and gangs. Despite knowing he had a feared reputation, the pair hit it off, with her describing Joey’s cheeky and charming personality in the book.

Produced by Yellow Path Productions, The Witness was released between May and July.

The Witness is not the only podcast Nicola has worked on. She is of course also at the helm of the Sunday World’s weekly show Crime World.

Joey, who appeared on an episode of the podcast in September told Nicola how he still fears Kenny to this day.

"I will always have to worry about Kenny and Hinchon and their associates and I have to live my life a particular way and be careful about everything I do but I'm lucky I'm here at all," he revealed.

Both podcasts are available to stream.

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