herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

Suspect in bonfire murder also linked to fatal rave knife attack

The body is removed from the scene in Clondalkin
The body is removed from the scene in Clondalkin

A young criminal who is the chief suspect in a murder at a Ballyfermot rave is also being investigated over the bonfire murder of Robert Ellis, it has emerged.

Ellis (25) was attacked in the early hours of last Tuesday by a gang of up to four men.

The father-of-one sustained fatal knife wounds during the attack in the Liscarne estate, Clondalkin, after being chased and cornered in the back garden of a house.

The Herald can reveal that one suspect identified has been investigated for another brutal murder two years ago.

The criminal, who is aged in his early 20s, has links to a Clondalkin-based gang run by two brothers.

Gardai believe that Ellis was murdered on the orders of this gang, and that their young associate was involved in the fatal attack.

The same young man is a chief suspect in the murder of James 'Jay' Griffin (26), who was stabbed to death at an industrial estate in Ballyfermot.

Griffin was attacked in November 2014 as he attended a rave. Gardai have arrested a number of people in relation to this murder but no one has yet been charged.

The attack on Griffin was treated as premeditated and may be linked to an organised crime dispute, of which he was said to be "collateral damage".

Although Griffin had a number of convictions, he was not involved in organised crime.

Like the fatal stabbing at the Ballyfermot industrial estate in 2014, last Tuesday's murder was a targeted attack rather than a crime of opportunity.

Pregnant

It is believed Ellis was involved in a previous botched attempt on the criminal brothers, but that the planned hit failed when he targeted the wrong house.

After this incident Ellis survived an attempt on his life when he and his pregnant girlfriend were shot outside a house in the Grange View estate in Clondalkin, in March 2015. The criminal brothers are also suspected of ordering this shooting.

Ellis had a number of previous convictions, including one for a machete attack in 2011, but was not considered a major criminal.

"Although the criminal brothers are not suspected of direct involvement in the murder, gardai believe they ordered the hit on Ellis," said a source.

"The young suspect, who was only a teenager at the time Jay Griffin was murdered, is trusted by the gang and has been nominated as one of the chief suspects in the Ellis murder."

Gardai investigating last week's murder are understood to have made progress with their inquiries but are still asking for anyone with information to contact them. No arrests have yet been made.

Speaking at a press briefing last week, Superintendent Dermot Mann of Lucan Garda Station appealed for anyone who was in the Neilstown area between 2am and 4am on Nov- ember 1 to come forward.

"We believe that the young man in his 20s was followed into the garden of the house by a number of people. We have information that a number of people left the garden over the wall," Supt Mann said.

The funeral of Robert Ellis will take place tomorrow at 10am at the Church of St Peter the Apostle, Neilstown. He will be buried at Newlands Cross Cemetery.

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