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Who is YZ? How Alan Harte, ringleader in the Kevin Lunney trial, had 180 previous convictions

Harte, previously referred to in the media only as YZ, inflicted most of Kevin Lunney’s serious injuries.

File image of the Courts of Criminal Justice.
File image of the Courts of Criminal Justice.
Image: PA

ALAN HARTE, THE career criminal who kidnapped, tortured and used a Stanley knife to permanently scar Quinn Industrial Holdings director Kevin Lunney, can be identified after the High Court lifted a gagging order preventing the media from naming him.

Harte (40), previously referred to in the media only as YZ, inflicted most of Lunney’s serious injuries, including knife wounds to his face and torso, after he abducted Lunney from his home in Co Fermanagh on September 17, 2019. 

Harte’s identity was protected because he had been due to go on trial at the Central Criminal Court accused of killing a man in his 60s in Dublin city centre. The charge was later dropped by the DPP. 

A sentencing hearing for Harte last year heard that he had 180 previous convictions including one for helping to dispose of the murdered body of his friend Peter Gunn (29).

Gunn was stabbed to death in Phibsborough in Dublin on January 4, 2009 and his body found 11 days later at Dunsoghly Lane in The Ward.

Harte went on trial in 2014 accused of murdering Gunn. The trial heard that Harte had been drinking with Gunn and a third man named Kastriot Boza.

Boza, who was a witness for the State, said an argument started and Harte stabbed Gunn to death.

Harte took the stand in his defence and said it was Boza who inflicted the fatal injuries. The jury found Harte not guilty of murder but convicted him of impeding the garda investigation by helping to dispose of the body.

He was sentenced to six years in prison with the final three suspended. Boza (48), who had an address at Newgrove Avenue, Sandymount, Dublin pleaded guilty to impeding the garda investigation.

Detective Superintendent James O’Leary previously told the Special Criminal Court that Harte also has a “substantial number” of convictions for theft, 60 for road traffic matters and one for burglary.

On December 20 last, the Lunney trial concluded when Mr Justice Tony Hunt sentenced Harte to 30 years’ imprisonment for torturing and falsely imprisoning Lunney.

Harte had pleaded not guilty to false imprisonment and intentionally causing serious harm to Lunney at Drumbrade, Ballinagh, Co Cavan, on September 17, 2019.

During pleas in mitigation following both the Lunney and Gunn convictions, Harte’s lawyers detailed his traumatic childhood, which included serious sexual abuse at the hands of a family friend and in a rural industrial school.

Michael O’Higgins SC, for Harte, said that his client “fell off a precipice” following one sexual assault when he was about 10 years old and by his early teens was using drugs and alcohol.

O’Higgins said Harte’s parents were both alcoholics. His father had brought the boy on “shop-lifting sprees” when Harte was still a child and died in 1993 following an assault.

Harte’s mother, counsel said, was frequently admitted to psychiatric units, often left her son home alone for days on end, and was prone to violent outbursts.

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O’Higgins said Harte’s childhood did not excuse criminality but might help to “rationalise” it.

When sentencing Harte to 30 years following the Lunney conviction, Mr Justice Tony Hunt dismissed the pleas relating to Harte’s childhood.

He said that Harte had used the same story to mitigate his sentence following his conviction for helping to dispose of Peter Gunn’s body and couldn’t rely on the same mitigation twice.

He described Harte as the “ringleader” and the person who had inflicted most of the serious injuries on Kevin Lunney.

The judge said that “all of the serious harm inflicted on Mr Lunney was the calculated outcome of Mr Harte’s actions.”

He said there was no mismatch between Harte’s actions and the consequences for the victim, and added that the scarring of Lunney by Harte was intended to mark him in “an exceptionally specific way”.

He also found that Harte had made “sinister” remarks regarding Lunney’s daughter when Harte told Lunney he had been watched at a GAA event with his daughter some weeks prior to the abduction.

Mr Justice Hunt said the remark was designed to intimidate and provided a “particularly disturbing and chilling insight into the mindset of those involved in this conspiracy.”

About the author:

Eoin Reynolds

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