'Dutchy' Holland dies in prison


Patrick ‘Dutchy’ Holland has died in a British prison where he was serving an eight year sentence for his role in a plot to kidnap a businessman and hold him to ransom for £10 million.

He was found dead in his cell in HMP Parkhurst at around 6am today and while a post-mortem has yet to be carried out, it appears that he died from natural causes.

“As with all deaths in custody, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman will conduct an investigation,” the UK prison service said in a statement.

Holland had been named in the Special Criminal Court in 1997 as the man whom gardaí believed shot Veronica Guerin but he has never been convicted of her murder.

He lived much of his life in Dublin's north inner city and Finglas.

He first came to the public's attention when, after his arrest in 1997 on drugs charges, the Special Criminal Court heard he was suspected of shooting Veronica Guerin the previous year.

Garda Marion Cusack had told the court she arrested Holland after he arrived at the Dún Laoghaire ferry port on April 9th, 1997, on suspicion of having a firearm at the junction of the Naas Road and Boot Road on June 26th, 1996, when Ms Guerin was shot.

In cross-examination Garda Cusack had said: "I had formed the opinion that Patrick Holland was the man who shot dead Veronica Guerin on June 26th, 1996."

Holland was never convicted of the murder. However, he was convicted of drugs offences relating to the activities of the gang led by John Gilligan.

Holland was sentenced to 20 years which was later reduced to 12 on appeal.