A former teenage drug addict and dealer says it is “nearly impossible” for young men enticed by the gangland crime lifestyle in Ireland to escape.
Philip Richardson, 51, spoke to Sky News ahead of a rally in Drogheda, County Louth, a community stunned by the brutal murder of a 17-year-old.
Keane Mulready-Woods, who had links to a criminal gang, was killed and his body dismembered in a ruthless escalation of a feud in the underworld.
Image: The teenager’s remains were found in a burnt-out car in Drumcondra, Dublin
Image: His limbs were also found in a sports bag
Mr Richardson said: “When you’re so young involved in it and you get a taste of the money, and you get a taste of the power as a young boy, and you’re drawn to people who you see as having made it, there’s a tremendous power that takes over your life.
“It’s nearly like you’re addicted to the whole lifestyle. To break out of it is nearly impossible.
“The money, the recognition, you just want to please people and then of course, you’ve access to drugs, the best clothes, the best cars, all the things that you see in a Hollywood movie.
“It’s just at your own doorstep and you think it’s never going to end.”
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Police in Ireland have had some success in tackling the activities of major criminal figures, but smaller groups are filling the vacuum and some of them are more ruthless.
The teenage victim’s limbs were found in a sports bag on a housing estate, and his head in a burnt-out car on the outskirts of Dublin.
Image: Philip Richardson says it’s very hard to escape gangland life in Ireland
Detectives believe his killers were forced to abandon their plan to intimidate rivals by dumping his body parts on the doorstep of another local godfather.
Mr Richardson said: “Everything has changed. People are terrified. We’re witnessing stuff now where we’re becoming desensitised to people being murdered.
“We’re losing our sense of decency and families are absolutely in fear. They want to protect their kids. They want to protect their communities.”
Image: Gardai are still investigating the murder of Keane Mulready-Woods
Mr Richardson, who says he would be dead by now had he not found faith, is pleading with this generation of young people to seek help.
He said: “I think what brought me to my senses was the reality that if I keep going the way I am, I’m going to die. I didn’t want to die. I did an awful lot of damage in my world at that time.
“If I had have been around in the level of what’s going on, I would have died.
“I would have ended up like any of those people in that world. I don’t judge any of them. My heart breaks for them because human life is precious.”
Source : Sky News