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Thursday 19 October 2017

Gardai swoop on house linked to armed robber in hunt for hitman

Michael Keogh
Michael Keogh

Gardai are investigating if a notorious north inner city armed robber was directly involved in the feud-related murder of Michael Keogh.

Keogh (37) became the 12th victim of the Hutch/Kinahan feud when he was shot in his car in the underground car park at the Sheridan Court flats complex on Wednesday morning.

Detectives believe the murder was carried out by the Hutch mob and are investigating the suspected role of an armed robber from the north inner city.

A property linked to the suspect was raided yesterday morning and while clothes and other items were seized, the robber, who is in his early 40s, was not arrested.

He is currently before the courts on serious charges unrelated to the feud and is considered a "volatile and highly dangerous criminal" who has links to a number of Hutch gang associates.

Graffiti

This latest development comes as sinister graffiti emerged in the north inner city naming two men the Hutch mob believe were involved in Gareth Hutch's murder.

The menacing message named the two men along with the message: "YOU'RE NEXT". Sources believe the Hutch gang were behind the graffiti.

A source said last night that gardai were "satisfied" with how the investigation was progressing and that "substantial progress has been made".

However, tensions remain extremely high on both sides of the city, with sources revealing that some members of the Hutch gang have been "taunting" pals of Keogh.

The most prominent theory is that Keogh was murdered because one of his closest associates was involved in Gareth Hutch's murder last May.

Michael Keogh's body is taken away from the scene by gardai. Photo: Collins
Michael Keogh's body is taken away from the scene by gardai. Photo: Collins

Keogh's murder is the first that the Hutch mob are suspected of carrying out since cartel figure David Byrne (34) was shot dead in the Regency Hotel in February 2016.

The following nine murders are all believed to have been carried out by the Kinahan cartel, including the shocking slayings last year of innocent men Trevor O'Neill and Martin O'Rourke.

Keogh's murder has led to a major increase in armed garda checkpoints in the north inner city but also in the Crumlin and south inner city areas.

Since the latest killing, it can be revealed that detectives have visited the homes of a number of targets on both sides of the feud and given them "updated security advice".

The murder, which has been followed by "taunting" of innocent relatives, came just days after six cars were attacked in the capital, five of them connected to innocent Hutch family members.

Gardai have also not ruled out whether Keogh was involved in any of the five attacks against the cars of Hutch family members.

Floral tributes and messages left near the car park in Dorset Street where the gunman struck. Photo: Collins
Floral tributes and messages left near the car park in Dorset Street where the gunman struck. Photo: Collins

The father-of-two had just started a new job in the construction sector.

While not considered a major criminal, he was linked to the so-called 'New INLA' faction who have aligned themselves with the Kinahan cartel.

Handgun

Keogh wrote on Facebook on Tuesday morning: "New job new start hopefully all goes well."

Gardai believe that members of the Hutch gang were monitoring his activity on Facebook in the days leading up to the murder.

A car was found burnt out on Clonliffe Avenue at 7.30am on Wednesday and a handgun with an attached silencer was discovered in the vehicle, which gardai believe was used as the getaway car.

The car, a grey Opel Astra which had false plates 12 D 16387, was stolen in the Dublin area in April.

It is believed that Keogh was shot dead shortly before the burnt-out car was discovered but an exact time is not known.

Yesterday gardai renewed their appeal for information, saying they want to speak to people who were in the Dorset Street or Clonliffe Avenue areas between 7 and 10am on Wednesday.

Unarmed gardai have been permanently stationed at a number of homes belonging to Hutch family members and officers manning these posts have requested new ballistic vests as they claim that their current ones are not suitable.

However, Garda headquarters has categorically stated that the standard vests issued to uniformed gardai are both ballistic resistant and stab proof.

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