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Sunday 4 December 2016

Nobody else will face arrest for gun killing of Westies victim Paul Ryan 12 years ago

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Paul Ryan
Paul Ryan
Darren 'Fats' Byrne

THERE will be no further arrests in relation to the murder of Paul Ryan 12 years ago, an inquest has heard.

The Dublin man, from Donaghmede, was shot dead at the age of 27 in Co Offaly in April 2003.

"I would believe the investigation into this incident is possibly concluded at this stage," Inspector Dermot Drea told Offaly county coroner Brian Mahon yesterday.

The inquest in Tullamore, Co Offaly, was adjourned to November 30 next at the application of the gardai but Mr Mahon told the jury they could make a finding that Mr Ryan was unlawfully killed.

DEBT

It previously emerged that Mr Ryan, who comes from an "extremely decent family", was being pursued over a drugs debt by the notorious criminal gang known as the Westies who were led by slain crimelords Shane Coates and Stephen Sugg whose bodies were discovered in Spain's Costa-Del-Crime in 2006.

Yesterday, the murdered man's father, Christy Ryan, gave evidence of identifying his son at the mortuary in Tullamore hospital on April 13, 2003.

Mr Mahon said a report from the then-deputy state pathologist, Dr Marie Cassidy, said she arrived at the scene on the the main Birr to Roscrea Road to find a man with a shotgun wound to the head.

Mr Ryan, of Grangemore Lawns, Donaghmede, had died from a single shot where the muzzle had been placed only a few centimetres from the back of his head.

There were no other marks on the body and no evidence of an assault and the absence of drag marks indicated he was shot where he was found.

The inquest was told by Inspector Drea that two suspects were identified but both had left the jurisdiction and gone to Northern Ireland.

The pair - Darren 'Fats' Byrne and John O' Hanlon - have both since been before the courts in relation to the killing.

"There are no further outstanding arrests to be made," said Inspector Drea.

The jury concurred with the coroner's recommendation that death was due to a gunshot wound to the head and that Mr Ryan was the victim of an unlawful killing.

The coroner said he would adjourn the inquest because the garda file had not yet been completed.

Dublin man Darren 'Fats' Byrne (41) was cleared of the killing after a trial at the Central Criminal Court lasting more than a week in 2012.

It later emerged that a key witness who was due to give evidence in the trial dramatically retracted her statement during the case and blamed another criminal for the murder.

'Fats' Byrne fled Ireland just days after he was cleared in June 2012.

INFORMATION

However within weeks of moving to England, the hard-up criminal was arrested by Surrey Police investigating a burglary in which £100 sterling and household items were stolen.

Well-known criminal John O'Hanlon (49) from Millwood, Kilbarrack, who was present on the night of the murder, admitted withholding information about the death of Mr Ryan at a trial in the Central Criminal Court in 2010.

He was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison after the court was told he had not known about a plan to kill Ryan.

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