WELL known Cork drug dealer John Heaphy has died while serving a 10-year sentence for dealing heroin.
Mr Heaphy, who was in his late 60s and lived on Kerryhall Road in Fair Hill, died on Wednesday after an illness.
He was serving a sentence imposed in November 2015 after €37,000 worth of heroin was seized by gardaí in an operation in February 2014.
He had received palliative care in hospital in the last weeks of his life.
At Cork Circuit Court in November 2015, Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin heard that the seizure was made after gardaí, acting on intelligence, set up a surveillance operation at Halfway, Rathduff.
They approached a 4x4 vehicle that crashed when trying to leave the scene.
Mr Heaphy was in the vehicle with another person.
He later admitted bringing the package of heroin to Cork that day.
He also pleaded guilty to a separate charge of burning seven cars in residential areas of Fair Hill in May 2014.
In garda interviews, he said he heard voices in his head telling him to burn the vehicles.
During his sentencing, Mr Heaphy said: “I tried to kill myself loads of times. I don’t want to die in prison. [Regarding the burning cars] I had nothing personal against these people.
“They were good neighbours. I didn’t realise at the time I was doing it.
“All my life seemed to be crumbling in front of me.”
He said he had serious problems he had from his past that prompted him to become an alcoholic with a long-time addiction to “hash, UpJohns, D10s and D5s”.
In sentencing him, Judge Ó Donnabháin said it was “tragic” that a man of his age and “attending to psychiatric problems has to be dealt with in this way but he has given his life to drug sale and supply.”
In 2008, Mr Heaphy was sentenced to 12 years, with seven years suspended, after being caught with a jar of ecstasy tablets worth €47,000 in a field in Rathpeacon in December 2007.