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Tusk time Former cocaine dealer charged with trading an African elephant and a sperm whale

Kieran Bradley says items are just inherited antiques and claims he's a target because he wouldn't be a spook

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Kieran Bradley, 47, of Rosemount Gardens in Derry is charged with trading in endangered species, namely an African elephant and a sperm whale, on dates between December 12 2016 and November 11 2017

Kieran Bradley, 47, of Rosemount Gardens in Derry is charged with trading in endangered species, namely an African elephant and a sperm whale, on dates between December 12 2016 and November 11 2017

Kieran Bradley, 47, of Rosemount Gardens in Derry is charged with trading in endangered species, namely an African elephant and a sperm whale, on dates between December 12 2016 and November 11 2017

This is the former cocaine dealer charged with trading an African elephant and a sperm whale.

Kieran Bradley admits he "destroyed families" with his drug dealing years ago but says he will contest the charge of 'trading in endangered species' at Derry Magistrates Court in two weeks' time.

And the 47-year-old father of two says the elephant and whale charges only relate to antiques he had in his home.

It's believed to be the first time anyone in Northern Ireland has ever faced a potential prison sentence for trading an elephant and a whale.

But after we tracked Bradley down to a new address in Derry's Creggan Hill area, he couldn't wait to protest his innocence.

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Kieran Bradley, 47, of Rosemount Gardens in Derry is charged with trading in endangered species, namely an African elephant and a sperm whale, on dates between December 12 2016 and November 11 2017

Kieran Bradley, 47, of Rosemount Gardens in Derry is charged with trading in endangered species, namely an African elephant and a sperm whale, on dates between December 12 2016 and November 11 2017

Kieran Bradley, 47, of Rosemount Gardens in Derry is charged with trading in endangered species, namely an African elephant and a sperm whale, on dates between December 12 2016 and November 11 2017

And he says reports that he was trading a full-blown African elephant and a sperm whale are just not the 'tooth'.

"I've seen these reports about me buying and selling elephants and whales and it's completely untrue," he told us.

"I'm glad you have come to speak to me to get my side because everyone's looking at me funny because of what's been written in local papers and social media.

"I'm an animal lover, I fight to protect animals and was training to become a bird ringer. The truth is I was left a lot of antiques by my dad. I collect stuff, my house is full of antiques and gold I've bought off eBay.

"Loads of antiques have ivory in them, in fact everything made a couple of hundred years ago had ivory in it. I had 17th century glove stretchers with ivory on them, photos that had ivory on the back and cocktail holders made with ivory - all antiques from hundreds of years ago.

"They are doing me after the police came through my front door four years ago and found some ivory antiques and an old sperm whale's tooth.

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"They said I was selling and dealing in ivory. I've never sold anything like that before. Any ivory I have is on old antiques. It's hundreds of years old. They took a fossilised whale's tooth which is millions of years old and another tooth.

"I don't sell anything except for gold. I make a living buying up gold on eBay and then trading that in when I need money."

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Kieran Bradley, 47, of Rosemount Gardens in Derry is charged with trading in endangered species, namely an African elephant and a sperm whale, on dates between December 12 2016 and November 11 2017

Kieran Bradley, 47, of Rosemount Gardens in Derry is charged with trading in endangered species, namely an African elephant and a sperm whale, on dates between December 12 2016 and November 11 2017

Kieran Bradley, 47, of Rosemount Gardens in Derry is charged with trading in endangered species, namely an African elephant and a sperm whale, on dates between December 12 2016 and November 11 2017

Kieran is facing a single charge of trading in endangered species, namely an African elephant and a sperm whale, between December 12 2016 and November 11 2017.

On Monday the court was told he will contest the charge. His defence barrister asked for a review to be held before that contest date so he can seek 'some clarification' from the Public Prosecution Service as to what is included in the charge.

The barrister said it was a 'very unusual charge' and added that he would need that information in advance of the contest date which has since been set for November 23.

At a previous hearing the case was described as 'complicated and unusual' - which also sums up Kieran's life thus far.

He says he's a recovering drug addict and alcoholic and has been off both for 12 years when he also stopped his involvement in the Derry drug dealing trade.

"I want you to put in that I was a bad bastard back in the day, I was dealing cocaine and cannabis on a massive scale. I know I've destroyed the lives of many families in this town," he admitted.

"Now I've turned my life around by helping other addicts into recovery. I give talks at a community group set up to help people addicted to drugs.

"I'm not looking for a Blue Peter badge or anything, but I have turned my life around and I'm doing my best to give something back."

Kieran says when he was involved in drug dealing, he was making £40,000 a week.

He said: "It was mental money I was making but I was addicted to cocaine. I was a complete bastard. I was crazy.

"I was shot several times and it was all because of drugs and there were occasions when I fired a gun back - as well as a crossbow.

"I went to jail for a long time in 1998 for dealing cannabis and when I came out I was flat out dealing drugs again. Cocaine ruined me. I was completely addicted, and my mental health is still suffering because of it.

"I tried taking my own life in 2003 because of cocaine. I was pronounced dead and had to be revived - all because of drugs. I'm done with all that now but it's a daily struggle."

Kieran says he has been shot so many times he should really have been killed but now all he wants to do is live in peace.

He claims he's been persecuted by the police because eight years ago he refused to become a paid informer.

"My nephew is Eamon Bradley who went to Syria, remember the picture of him on the horse and people were calling him the 'Paddy Jihadi'?" says Kieran.

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Eamon Bradley in Syria

Eamon Bradley in Syria

Eamon Bradley in Syria

"Well when he came back to face terrorism charges he was bailed to live with my mum. The spooks offered me £10,000 to inform on him. They wanted me to find out his contacts in Dublin and Germany.

"Ever since I refused, and because of my past as a drug dealer, they have made my life a misery. These endangered species charges are ridiculous which is why I'm fighting them."

He says he was approached while out shopping to become an informer.

"This spook approached me in Richmond Shopping Centre. It was so weird. The guy who tried to recruit me had arrived on a bike and was wearing cycling gear.

"He showed me pictures of me with Eamon. I had a long beard at the time and was suffering from depression, but I think they thought I was some kind of Jihadist!

"I took the number but never called him back. I have him in my phone as 'Dodge' as in dodgy.

"After I refused I kept getting stopped by the police. One time when I was coming back from Antrim where I'd been training to ring birds for conservation, I was hauled off the train as it arrived in Derry by armed police. They found nothing and let me go. It was insane.

"So this endangered species nonsense has been dragging on for over four years and I think it's all part of it."

In 2017 Eamon Bradley was cleared of a string of Syrian terror charges.

It came after pictures of the then 25-year-old appeared on social media showing him in Syria dressed in camouflage gear on horseback, along with what appeared to be heavy calibre weapons.

He was arrested by police in November 2014, just hours after returning from the ISIS-ravaged country.

Following interviews he was charged with attending a terrorist weapons and explosives training camp and with possessing a grenade with intent to endanger life or cause serious damage to property, both in Syria.

Kieran Bradley will contest the rare charge on November 23.

steven.moore@sundayworld.com

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