Friday 28 October 2016

Lookout 'called killers to carry out gangland hit'

The murder scene outside the Rising Phoenix restaurant where Darren Kearns was shot dead. Picture: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
The murder scene outside the Rising Phoenix restaurant where Darren Kearns was shot dead. Picture: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

A 33-year-old drug dealer, who was shot dead in front of his wife after eating a Chinese meal, had not even planned on going to the restaurant, it emerged last night.

This has led detectives to suspect that the "professional hit team" who murdered Darren Kearns received a phone call from a lookout who had been stalking the victim on Wednesday afternoon.

"This was a highly organised murder that involved the use of two cars at very short notice.

"It had not been even the couple's original plan to go to that Chinese, so that will show you how quick the killers were to act," a senior source said.


"They knew exactly what they were at and their actions before and after the murder show that they had a strong degree of local knowledge," the source added.

Yesterday, it emerged Kearns had been at the restaurant with his wife from around 4.30pm and left shortly before 5.40pm on Wednesday.

He was with his wife when he was gunned down in the car park as he sat in the passenger seat of their car after leaving the Rising Phoenix Chinese restaurant above Cumiskey's pub on Dublin's Blackhorse Avenue.

Gardai said it was "just pure luck" that the victim's traumatised wife was not shot in the incident. Kearns was shot a number of times with a handgun, including a gunshot to the head before his killers sped away in a light-coloured BMW 5 series car which was found burned out on Regal Park after the shooting.

Gardai are investigating Kearns' role as a 'bag man' for a jailed Cabra criminal, who the murder victim had been collecting cash for since the gangster - aged in his late 30s - was locked up last year.

"This is being looked at and what is not in doubt is that Kearns had been an active participant in organised crime since he got temporary release from prison last February.

"The suggestion is that he was left in charge of things after a number of major local criminals were sent to jail - so gardai are looking at whether his new position of responsibility led to his downfall in terms of him maybe being on the take," the senior source said.

Kearns was technically still serving a six-year sentence for drug offences when he was shot dead, but had been out of prison for 10 months and his sentence was due to expire in February.

Described by sources as a "model prisoner", he served a large part of his time in jail in the relatively cushy regimes of Loughan House Open Prison and Mountjoy's Training Unit before getting temporary release a full year ahead of his due release date.

This has led to some unconfirmed underworld speculation that the murdered man was a garda informer.

Gardai are unaware of any incidents involving Kearns in the previous weeks or months which could have led to his murder. It is understood that he had absolutely no idea that his life was under threat.

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