Hitmen plead for leniency ahead of sentencing hearing

The two Dubliners were arrested on their way to carry out a contract killing

The barristers of two hitmen arrested on their way to murder a man in Dublin have pleaded for leniency ahead of their sentencing.

Dubliners Stephen Dunne from Clondalkin and Gary Gleeson from Ballyfermot were contracted to carry out the hit on behalf of a criminal gang.

Gardaí began following the movements of the pair on a tip-off that a man was going to be murdered last summer.

Their van was put under surveillance and a recording device was put inside.

Dunne and Gleeson were not to know that their conversations were being recorded as they were on their way to carry out the hit on Aug 7th last.

Gleeson could be heard telling Dunne to aim for the head and a loaded gun was found inside the van when Gardaí intercepted it on the Naas Road.

Gleeson’s barrister today described his client as a "foot soldier" who became indebted to a gang following the loss of a shipment of drugs worth €80k.

He said he was very remorseful and asked the judge to be as lenient as possible.

Dunne’s barrister said his client was easily taken advantage of and was put in harm’s way by people who considered him to be "utterly disposable."

Mr Justice Tony Hunt said their guilty pleas were significant mitigating factors before deferring sentencing until the end of the month.