A gangster who fled Ireland after journalist Veronica Guerin’s murder is facing extradition from Holland to the UK, it was revealed today.
Wanted fraudster John Traynor, known as The Coach, was arrested by Dutch police last Monday night after 18 years on the run from a British prison.
The 62-year-old – named in court by underworld associate and drug trafficker John Gilligan as the man who ordered Guerin’s 1996 killing – is believed to have been in Holland for several years.
He was detained in the Amstelveen area following a joint operation by the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (Soca) and Dutch authorities.
Traynor vanished in November 1992 when he failed to return to HMP Prison Highpoint, Suffolk, after a short period of home leave. Since then it is understood he has spent time in Spain and Portugal.
“He is now awaiting extradition to the UK to serve the remainder of his sentence,” a Soca spokesman said.
“This arrest is as a result of ongoing collaboration with the Dutch authorities that Soca has to apprehend criminals operating in the Netherlands that impact on the UK.”
Traynor was arrested on August 23 and it is expected he will appear in court in the coming days.
He was an underworld contact of Guerin as she exposed organised crime in Dublin in the mid-1990s.
She was shot dead in her car by the pillion passenger on a motorbike at traffic lights on the Naas Road on the outskirts of the capital in June 1996.
Her murder prompted the largest ever crackdown on organised crime in Ireland.
Traynor, who had launched a court challenge to try to stop Guerin writing about him, fled the country to avoid the fall-out.
In 2008, former associate Gilligan, who was cleared of Guerin’s murder, used a High Court case in Dublin to name Traynor as the man responsible for her death.
Using court rules to guarantee legal protection for the sensational claim, he said Traynor ordered the hit. One of Gilligan’s gang, Brian Meehan, is serving a life sentence for the journalist’s murder,
Detectives had suspected that Traynor tipped off the killers to Guerin’s movements on the day she was killed.