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Saturday 3 December 2016

Best pals who grew up robbing cars for the notorious Westies gang are now sworn enemies

The legacy of one of Dublin's most violent drug gangs is causing mayhem and murder to this day, despite the bloody deaths of many of the key players in the outfit

Gardai at a burned-out car after the murder of Mark Glennon
Gardai at a burned-out car after the murder of Mark Glennon
David Goulding
Jay O'Connor (pictured) and David Goulding are involved in a deadly gangland feud that has already clamed the life of one victim

They were childhood pals who grew up together and joined Dublin's most notorious crime gang.

Now Jason 'Jay' O'Connor (37) and David 'Gully' Goulding (38) hate each other's guts.

Gardai are this summer more worried about the bitter feud than any other gangland war.

It has already led to one man being shot dead in west Dublin.

Armed detectives have had to mount top secret operations to keep the main protagonists alive as death threats and counter threats have been flying.

O'Connor and Goulding have known each other since they were children in Clonsilla.

The pair linked up with the Westies gang when they were teenagers and built up reputations 20 years ago as prolific car thieves.

The infamous mob - headed up by gangsters Shane Coates and Stephen Sugg - terrorised Dublin in the early days of the Celtic Tiger boom.

The growing use of cocaine by Ireland's increasingly affluent middle class meant that the gangs were making tens of thousands of euro each week.

While building up a reputation as the best car thieves in Dublin, O'Connor and Goulding grew close to another major player on the crime scene, Baldoyle-based drugs trafficker David 'Babyface' Lindsay.

Given the scale of hatred between the pair, it now seems like a very long time ago that O'Connor and Goulding were partners in crime as integral members of the Westies.

Their dispute has its roots in the disintegration of the gang.

Sugg and Coates were forced to flee Ireland for Spain in 2003 because of the heat they were getting from gardai.

When they left, a deadly vacuum was created.

A row broke out over money and turf between Lindsay's Coolock-based gang and two criminal brothers - Andrew 'Madser' and Mark Glennon.

Jason O'Connor sided with the Glennons while David Goulding took Babyface's side and the dispute became increasingly nasty.

Bernard Sugg (23), Stephen's younger brother, was gunned down in 2003.

Buried

Meanwhile, Shane Coates (21) and Stephen Sugg (27) were shot dead in Spain in 2004 and buried in concrete under a warehouse.

Their bodies were not found for almost three years.

The rivals of Coates and Sugg, Andrew (30) and Mark Glennon (32), were themselves murdered in 2005.

The situation intensified further when 'Babyface' Lindsay was involved in a brutal attack on O'Connor in which he sliced him up with a knife after storming his west Dublin home.

Lindsay was later tortured and murdered in 2008.

It is suspected that gangland serial killer Eric 'Lucky' Wilson carried out the murder on the orders of crime boss Michael 'Micka' Kelly. It is believed that O'Connor blamed Goulding for the knife attack at his home.

O'Connor was later taken under the wing of a veteran southside gang boss.

Amid the ongoing feud, O'Connor is spending most of his time travelling between Ireland and Spain as armed detectives closely monitor his movements.

Goulding meanwhile is living in Co Meath.

Unlike Westies bosses Coates and Sugg - and more than a dozen other mobsters that O'Connor and Goulding were friends with over the years - the feuding duo remain alive despite numerous attempts on their lives.

Sources say that associates of O'Connor are suspected of being linked to an attack which saw Goulding shot six times as he sat in a car in Hartstown in January 2012.

Goulding was lucky to escape with his life in the attack at Cherryfield View, Dublin 15.

The driver of the car was uninjured and it is understood that the lone gunman made his getaway on foot in the direction of Portersgate.

There has never been an arrest in that case.

That attack came following two tit-for-tat shootings between the factions the previous year.

After surviving the assassination attempt, Goulding was brought to Blanchardstown Hospital for treatment where he was watched over by gardai, as he had been on the run for months.

However, he made an audacious escape when three associates pepper-sprayed and assaulted uniformed officers who were guarding him.

Arrested

He was arrested two weeks later looking for Jason O'Connor at the Swords Road near Dublin Airport.

Goulding was then remanded in custody and eventually handed a three-and-a-half year sentence for two burglaries in the Portmarnock area dating back to March 2005.

Aside from their own feud, both O'Connor and Goulding have been involved in other underworld spats.

O'Connor was previously in the headlines when he had his fingers chopped off with an axe in a horrific May 2012 attack by Real IRA members under the direction of their boss Alan Ryan.

He arrived at Dublin's Mater Hospital with two fingers missing from his right hand.

He had also suffered injuries to the back of his head consistent with beating and torture.

One of the missing fingers was recovered in Fairview Park that evening and doctors sewed it back on to his hand. The second finger was never found.

Despite his injuries, O'Connor refused to identify his attackers but gardai quickly established that Alan Ryan's mob were responsible.

Real IRA criminal Ryan was shot dead four months later, but O'Connor is not a suspect in that high-profile case.

He was however, a suspect in the murder of a Lithuanian crime boss in 2013.

Gintaras Zelvys was shot twice in the body with a handgun as he arrived with his wife to open up his 'cash for clothes' business in the Greenogue industrial estate, Rathcoole, west Dublin.

Detectives investigating the murder arrested O'Connor and two other Blanchardstown men in a special operation shortly after the murder but they were all later released without charge.

Murdered

Goulding's name meanwhile, has come up in court proceedings.

At a hearing in July 2010 it emerged that on the day that murdered crime figure John Paul Joyce went missing, Joyce went to hand over a BMW car's logbook to David Goulding.

Joyce's body was found near Dublin Airport on January 9, 2010, two days after he had last been seen.

During the hearing at Dublin District Court, Goulding's former wife Karen Duffy claimed Joyce sold the Northern Ireland-registered car to her and her partner David Goulding for €7,000 and they were the legal owners of the vehicle.

Ms Duffy said she and Goulding paid cash for the car.

Just last month, Ms Duffy was in court again when she partially forfeited a €30,000 bail bond to the State because Mark Allen, the friend she had raised it for, had fled the jurisdiction.

It emerged in Dublin Circuit Court that gardaí opposed Ms Duffy as surety as they found her "completely unsuitable".

Referring to David Goulding, a senior detective told the court that "she was in a 12-year relationship with someone that was very well known to the gardaí and involved in organised crime".

He said the couple had a bank account that had previously been frozen by the Criminal Assets Bureau and gardaí had seized €16,000 from him.

"Her husband was on the run at the time. There were circuit court warrants out for his arrest. She claimed they were estranged but he was still registered as living at her home," the detective explained.

Ms Duffy told the court that CAB initially seized her and her ex-husband's bank accounts but were later satisfied that the funds had been made up of a credit union loan, a winning cheque from Paddy Power and a €30,000 insurance claim.

Ms Duffy agreed that when gardaí raided her home and discovered the €16,000, the money had been in her handbag but she claimed she didn't know it was there.

She said her ex-husband Goulding told her he had won it in poker and she never asked any more questions about it.

Aside from these separate issues, the war between O'Connor's and David Goulding has been continuing apace.

The bitter west Dublin feud has intensified since Goulding was released from jail a number of months ago after serving time for the burglary sentence.

Tirade

In the aftermath of the latest attempt on his life earlier this year, O'Connor gave a foul-mouthed tirade to a newspaper reporter.

It gave a shocking insight into what he thought of the criminals who attempted to murder him.

"I'll tell you a story, there's going to be a f***ing war in Blanchardstown - they are f***ing dead, stone f***ing dead," he said. "They won't see the end of the week."

The criminal's prediction has not yet happened. However, gardai are on high alert for more fallout from the bitter feud playing out on the streets of west Dublin.

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