Fugitive captured after 18 years on the run

A WELL-known Irish underworld figure with links to paramilitaries has been arrested in Holland after 18 years on the run following his failure to return to a Suffolk prison.

After nearly four years as a fugitive Dublin criminal John Traynor, 62, fled Ireland when journalist Veronica Guerin was murdered in June 1996.

She was shot dead in her car by the pillion passenger on a motorbike in Dublin.

Traynor was reportedly Ms Guerin’s main underworld contact.

He eluded British authorities for 18 years after failing to return to custody at HMP Highpoint in Stradishall in 1992 where he was serving seven years for fraud.

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It is understood Traynor was arrested in Amstelveen, near Amsterdam, on August 23rd in a joint operation between the Dutch and British Serious and Organised Crime Agency.

Traynor vanished in November 1992 when he failed to return to Highpoint prison after a short period of home leave. Since then, it is understood he has spent time in Spain and Portugal.

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“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.”

It is expected he will appear in court in the coming days.

Traynor was close to John Gilligan, who was cleared of the murder of Guerin in 2001.

Traynor was involved in a wide variety of criminal endeavours, from robbery to drugs, embezzlement and prostitution.

He was the second in command and main adviser of the drug-smuggling gang which was broken up by the Garda investigation into the Guerin murder.

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