Real IRA member who has history of violence


DURING HIS murder trial Stephen Carney and his lawyers did their best to suggest he had simply snapped during a row with Amanda Jenkins and killed her on the spur of the moment.

If the jury had accepted this version of accounts Carney would have been convicted of manslaughter, not murder. He could have expected to spend maybe six years in jail rather than life.

The convicted man, whose criminal past was not aired during his trial, was not long out of prison after being jailed for armed robbery when he began a relationship with the woman he would go on to kill.

Carney, a 33-year-old originally from Dolphin House flats, Rialto in Dublin's south inner city, has been a member of the Real IRA and carried out at least one armed robbery.

He was also among a 12-man gang that attacked heroin addicts Josie Dwyer and Alan Byrne in May 1996 after a meeting in Dolphins Barn of the group Concerned Parents Against Drugs.

Mr Dwyer and Mr Byrne were approached near the Basin Lane flats complex on James's Street. The two men were punched before being subjected to a group assault which involved kicking and the use of weapons.

Mr Byrne managed to escape but Mr Dwyer, a 41-year-old who was HIV positive, died from his injuries. The courts heard evidence of how Mr Dwyer was beaten to a pulp.

Carney was originally charged with manslaughter. However, the charge was reduced when he pleaded guilty to lesser charges. He was sentenced to 20 months in February 2000.

Before Carney went to trial he was on bail. During this period of freedom he became involved in the Republican movement, joining a Dublin unit of the Real IRA.

In 1998 he was part of a six-man gang that tried to rob a Securicor van in Ashford, Co Wicklow. The raid took place on May 1st, the day of gardaí industrial action known as "Blue Flu".

The gang were armed with a pump-action shotgun, Kalashnikov assault rifle and revolver.

They posed as council workers and set up mock roadworks on the N11 just north of Ashford. When the Securicor van, carrying £250,000, stopped at the roadworks the gang ordered the two-man crew out, threatening them with their guns and an imitation rocket launcher.

One of the gang tried to break a window in the van's cab to pour petrol in and burn the crew out. Gardaí who had not joined the Blue Flu were lying in wait and when they moved in the gang members tried to hijack passing cars and escape.

One of them, Ronan McLoughlin (28), from Ballymun, Dublin, was shot dead by gardaí as he tried to escape in a car he hijacked at gunpoint from a terrified elderly couple.

Carney, who was armed with the pump-action shotgun, was jailed for eight years in December 1998.

He was tried at the Special Criminal Court, which is reserved for terrorists, for both the armed robbery and for his role in the attack leading to Josie Dwyer's death.