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Long illness CAB target dies three years after landmark case to get jail release for cancer treatment

He died on Wednesday according to his death notice


Jonathan Heaphy

Jonathan Heaphy

Jonathan Heaphy

A member of a notorious drug-dealing clan has died three years after taking a High Court action over his release from prison because of his incurable brain cancer.

Jonathan Heaphy had been serving a four-year sentence for money laundering when he won his legal bid over how prison bosses handled his temporary release for medical treatment.

The former target of the Criminal Assets Bureau died on Wednesday after “a long illness” according to his death notice posted online, surrounded by his family.

His father John, a convicted heroin dealer notorious in Cork city, died in February 2020 while mother Helen hit the headlines in 2015 when caught with cocaine hidden in her bra at a bingo hall.

In May 2016 Jonathan Heaphy pleaded guilty to nine charges of money laundering along with his mother and three of his siblings who were also charged with similar offences.

Cash was found hidden in a packet of frozen vegetables, a Kellogg’s Corn Flakes box, the legs of a TV stand, and behind kickboards.

Heaphy had control of over €90,000 found in cash and post office savings books during the garda investigation, according to evidence heard in court.

He had given various explanations for the cash, including gambling wins, a loan and that it was the proceeds of a compensation claim.

Heaphy also claimed he made over €10,000 from breeding dogs, but the Irish Kennel Club had no record of him.

It was also heard he had no mortgage on his house and had paid for it in cash.


Helen Heaphy

Helen Heaphy

Helen Heaphy

While serving his sentence Heaphy needed treatment for his incurable brain cancer and later brought a legal challenge over the way his application for temporary release was handled.

After his surgery in 2017, his application for temporary release was refused on the grounds there was no evidence he would not get the required level of care in prison.

He continued with the case even after his treatment had finished in which the judge said Heaphy was entitled to a declaration in his favour.

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His father john Heaphy died of cancer in February 2020 while under prison guard in Cork University Hospital.

He had been serving a ten-year sentence after being caught with €37,000 worth of heroin in Cork city in 2014.

The trial judge at the time Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said: “It is tragic that a man his age and physical, and attending to psychiatric problems, has to be dealt with in this way but he has given his life to drug sale and supply and this is the harvest he will do.”

John Heaphy was regarded as one of the first criminals to flood Cork with drugs in the 1980s.

In 1999, anti-drug campaigners marched on Helen’s home in Farranree on a nightly basis for weeks.

In one court hearing, the house was described by gardaí as a “virtual supermarket for drugs”.

The property had CCTV installed at the front and two Rottweiler dog greet to ward off anyone trying to gain access from the rear, according to garda evidence.

Detectives believed that the home was being used as a hub for John Heaphy’s network.

She eventually secured a court order to stop protests outside her house claiming she was being unfairly singled out.

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