Hit men talked about needing ‘head shots’ on victim to get paid, court hears

Gary Gleeson and Stephen Dunne were arrested after detectives intercepted their van


Alison O’ Riordan

Two “foot soldiers” contracted by senior figures in an organised crime group to murder Michael Frazer discussed how they needed to aim for “head shots” or they would not get paid, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

Gary Gleeson and Stephen Dunne were arrested and charged after armed detectives intercepted their van during an operation targeting organised crime in Dublin in August 2017. There was a loaded firearm beside the hand brake, ready for use.

A transcript from a conversation between the two men in the van was read to the three-judge court in which Gleeson says: “Aim for the head yeah? have to get him in the head. Head shots or we won’t get fucking paid.”

Gleeson (34), with an address at Muskerry Road in Ballyfermot, Dublin 10 and Dunne (39), of Meile an Rí Drive in Lucan, Dublin 20, pleaded guilty last month at the non-jury court to possession of a 9mm Luger semi-automatic pistol and 10 rounds of 9mm calibre Sellier and Bellot ammunition with intent to endanger life. The offences occurred at Naas Road, Crumlin on August 7th, 2017.

The two men had previously been charged with conspiracy to murder Dubliner Michael Frazer (39) between July 28th and August 7th last.

At Friday’s sentence hearing, Detective Inspector David Gallagher, from the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, told prosecuting counsel Garnet Orange SC gardaí received confidential information that a criminal gang in Dublin were involved in the active targeting of an unknown individual at the time, who was based in the Drimnagh area of Dublin.

An investigation was put in place and surveillance was conducted for a distinctive van with particular wording on it.

The van, a Fiat Doblo, was identified in the Lissadell Avenue area of west Dublin in late July 2017 and the two defendants were seen in it. The van was kept under observation and various notes were made of its movements in late July and August.

Det Insp Gallagher said as the investigation was progressing they became aware the person targeted was Michael Frazer, from Drimnagh. He said the investigation led them to a tracking device on Mr Frazer’s van.


A warrant was then got to place an audio surveillance device on the van. Through the use of this discreet listening device, gardaí­became aware something of significance was intended for the evening of August 7th.

On that evening the van was followed as it went from Ballyfermot to the Naas Road. At 7.45pm members of the Special Detective Unit intercepted the van and the two men were arrested.

A loaded firearm was in the van, prepared for immediate use, said Det Insp Gallagher. It was lying in plain view beside the hand brake, he said.

The van was searched and a can of petrol, tissues, a lighter, a number of rubber gloves and a small amount of cocaine were found.

Gleeson and Dunne were arrested and detained in Crumlin Garda Station. DNA was taken from both men to use for forensic analysis in the course of the investigation.

The court heard detectives found a tracking device under Mr Frazer’’s van and Dunne’s DNA was found on a SIM card which had been inserted into this tracker. This tracker was linked to a mobile phone and Dunne was caught on CCTV cameras buying credit for that phone. There was also further DNA evidence linking Dunne to the handle and the trigger of the firearm.

Det Insp Gallagher read the transcript of the recorded conversation in which Gleeson says: “Aim for the head yeah? Have to get him in the head. Head shots or we won’t get fucking paid.”

To which Dunne replies: “Once I get him a bit, I’ve to walk right up to him you know what I mean, do you get me?”

Gleeson then says: “Riddle him.”

Det Insp Gallagher agreed with Mr Orange that the two men can also be heard in the recording discussing the preparation of the gun by cocking it and preparing for the destruction of the van.

Previous convictions

The witness told the court that Dunne has 14 previous convictions, while Gleeson has 23 previous convictions.

Dep Insp Gallagher confirmed the two men’s target was Mr Frazer and he did not want any involvement with gardaí­ with regard to this investigation. He said Mr Frazer had a threat to his life and was under the garda threat management system. Mr Frazer was targeted by senior figures in the organised crime group for internal matters and the two men were contracted and paid to carry out the attack, the court heard.

Defence counsel Michael O’Higgins SC, for Gleeson, said his client was a hired hand and foot soldier and not a senior figure in the organisation. Another factor in mitigation, he said was his early guilty plea.

Michael Bowman SC, for Dunne, said he had a significant drug issue and his family had been blighted by tragedy. In his submissions, Mr Bowman said Dunne was not the mastermind but the “essential cog” and was not someone operating at the upper echelons of criminal behaviour. “He has no violence in his criminal convictions,” he added.

Mr Bowman asked the court to structure a sentence to rehabilitate Dunne into the community with something to offer rather than a capacity to cause havoc.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, with Judge Patricia Ryan and Judge Michael Walsh, remanded both men in custody until July 13th, when further reports will be submitted to the court.