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Thursday 29 September 2016

'Judas' hitman was pals with hutch mobster, but agreed to kill for €100k

David Byrne who was shot dead in the Regency attack
David Byrne who was shot dead in the Regency attack
Gardai on Sheriff Street (Collins Dublin)

A 'Judas' hitman, who botched a murder for the Kinahan cartel and fatally shot an innocent man, was offered over €100,000 to kill his intended target, it has emerged.

The Herald has learnt that the 24-year-old gangster is friendly with many main players in the Hutch mob, including intended target Keith Murtagh (32).

It is not known if he was paid any of the cash upfront for Wednesday's shooting, which resulted in the murder of tragic dad Martin O'Rourke (24), who had no involvement in the deadly feud between the cartel and associates of slain Gary Hutch.

Sources are also unaware whether the 24-year-old will now become a cartel target himself after the botched assassination.

"He is being called a Judas because he is actually mates with many of the main players in the Hutch gang, but yet he took up the offer of money to kill Keith Murtagh," a source explained.

"He would have known these fellas since he was a kid."

Murders

The development comes as it emerged that a close associate of David Byrne, who was shot dead in the Regency Hotel gun attack, is now the driving force behind the cartel's operations.

A source said that this notorious Crumlin-based thug is the person who is "offering up the cash for the next murders", which includes this week's atrocity.

It can also be disclosed that crime godfather Christy Kinahan has ordered his son Daniel to "step back" from the bitter feud that has now claimed five lives, because it is extremely bad for the cartel's drug-trafficking business.

The chief suspect for the murder of Mr O'Rourke left the scene on a bicycle and then dumped his handgun in a bin as he fled.

The gunman has been arrested twice by Tallaght gardai investigating the cartel- sanctioned slaying of Michael 'Mad Mickey' Devoy in January, 2014.

'Mad Mickey' (41) was murdered shortly after his release from Portlaoise Prison. The main theory is that he was shot dead because he was the gunman for a botched murder attempt on heroin trafficker and cartel figure Greg Lynch three months earlier outside a northside pub.

Gardai believe that the north-inner-city criminal, who was being hunted last night, also set up Devoy to be murdered on behalf of the cartel.

It is understood that the killer was friendly with Ballymun criminal Devoy, but betrayed him for a cash reward.

A senior source told the Herald: "This 'gun for hire' is involved in extortion, debt collection and is associated with Provos in the north inner city."

The Herald has also learnt that the north-inner-city-based criminal is closely connected with a dangerous gang of young thugs who are based in the Darndale and Coolock areas of the capital's northside.

A key member of that gang was previously jailed after being arrested in a major operation by the gardai's Organised Crime Unit.

Sources say the young criminal is one of several young thugs who are prepared to kill for money for the Kinahan cartel.

Shooting

The intended target of Thursday's shooting, Keith Murtagh, was understood to be still in hiding last night.

Murtagh was jailed for eight years in 2010 for his role in a botched cash-in-transit robbery in Lucan in May, 2009, in which Murtagh was shot by gardai and seriously wounded, while fellow criminal Gareth Molloy (27) was shot dead by a detective from the Garda Emergency Response Unit in the same incident.

Tensions remain extremely high in the capital this weekend after the tragic murder of Mr O'Rourke, which has led to an increase in armed patrols in the city.

Gardai believe "that it is only a matter of time" before the north-inner-city Hutch mob will strike back after four of the five murders were carried out by their bitter rivals.

"The obvious concern is that they could go for a spectacular attack again like what happened at the Regency Hotel in February, something like even a grenade attack," a source said last night.

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