herald

Wednesday 26 April 2017

Fears gangland killers could show up at funeral of 'Guinea Pig' Desmond

Mark ‘Guinea Pig’ Desmond
Mark ‘Guinea Pig’ Desmond

Gardai will be carrying out a surveillance operation on the funeral of Mark Desmond to see if his killers attend the ceremony, it has emerged.

The gangland criminal, who was also known as the 'Guinea Pig', was gunned down in Griffeen Valley Park, Lucan, on December 2.

His body was released to his family over the weekend after a post-mortem examination was completed. Desmond, who was originally from Ballyfermot, received three gunshot wounds to the head, and was also shot once in the leg.

He had been working for a Sligo-based drugs gang and was also associated with criminals in the Lucan area.

Enemies

It is understood his funeral will take place in the south inner city this week, but the details will not be released publicly over fears that the ceremony could be targeted by enemies of the slain mobster.

A source last night said that low-level garda activity is expected at the funeral to prevent any unrest.

In addition, officers will be monitoring the congregation to determine if Desmond's killers are present.

"There won't be an extraordinary Garda presence or anything like the resources that were deployed for previous gangland funerals in the area," the source said.

"However, gardai are expected to keep both discreet and overt surveillance on the mourners to see what associates attend, and also if Desmond's killers are brazen enough to go to the funeral."

A number of potential suspects have been identified by gardai investigating the murder, but no arrests have yet been made.

Officers stationed at Lucan Garda Station have also been canvassing shops, pubs and other businesses in the local area in an attempt to determine Desmond's movements in the hours before his murder.

Associates

He was killed shortly before 8pm on a Friday evening, and was believed to have been meeting with associates before being fatally shot.

The 'Guinea Pig' had previously survived a number of attempts on his life - including a botched shooting in Tallaght in 2005 and a failed hit in Ballyfermot in 2010.

Desmond was linked to at least four killings, including the horrific canal murders in 2000.

He was initially charged in relation to the murders of Darren Carey and Patrick Murray, whose remains were discovered in the Grand Canal between January 9 and 10, 2000.

However, the charges were sensationally dropped and he was jailed for firearms offences relating to the same incident.

Desmond was also the chief suspect in the murder of Anthony Cannon, an associate of jailed gang boss Brian Rattigan.

The gun-for-hire was also suspected of playing a key role in the murder of James Kenny McDonagh, who disappeared in 2010.

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