herald

Wednesday 16 January 2019

Assassin in wig and ski mask shot Ryan three ti mes before final bullet to the head

The afternoon of Monday, September 3, 2012 was a beautiful sunny day across the country and it was to be Alan Ryan’s last day on earth.

The 32-year-old terror boss was on his way to visit his close associate Declan Fat Deccy’ Smith as he walked with two of his pals at Grange Lodge Avenue, Clongriffin in north Dublin.

The two other men, who laughed and joked with Ryan as they 
strolled in the sun, were republican activists Aaron Nealis from 
Sligo and Dubliner Paul Stewart.

But disaster struck at around 3.30pm.

A tall gunman, who was wearing a woman’s wig and a ski mask, jumped out of a stolen silver Volvo car and approached the trio.

destroyed

The killer, who has never been identified, approached Ryan and shot him three times in the chest and finished him off with a shot to the head that destroyed the terror boss’ face.

In the confusion, Paul Stewart tried to get away but Aaron Nealis attempted to intervene and he was hit twice in the legs with the same handgun that had killed his pal.

The entire gruesome episode was caught on CCTV from a medical doctor’s van.

The attackers, meanwhile, made their escape in the silver Volvo car, which was found burnt out shortly afterwards at the Hole in the Wall Road.

Gardai and paramedics rushed to the scene as Ryan lay dying on the ground.

Also present in the aftermath of the chaos was Fat Deccy’ Smith and Ryan’s brother Dermot Ryan.

The news of the murder spread like wildfire throughout the capital. A short time later tensions were high at the Ryans’ family home in nearby Grange Abbey Drive, Donaghmede as a number of associates of the murdered man arrived at the property.

At first there was a large presence of armed gardai and during one incident an officer pulled out his legally-held firearm as tensions threatened to spill out of control.

As the evening went on the situation stabilised as people came to the house to pay respect to Alan Ryan’s family.

Meanwhile, as gardai made public appeals for information, officers were already building up a detailed picture of what had happened and who had wanted Ryan dead.

surveillance

It was quickly established that Ryan had been under surveillance for weeks, that up to 15 gangsters from at least four different crime groupings had clubbed together to have him murdered and that this was a well-planned hit.

As day turned into night, officers made plans to raid an apartment close to where Ryan was killed the following morning in a hunt for forensic evidence in relation to the murder.

As this was going on up to a dozen north Dublin gangsters fled from their homes over fears of an IRA backlash.

Armed garda checkpoints were increased in north Dublin as senior gardai feared an all-out gang war.

But almost two years later, events have followed a pattern that no-one could have predicted.

hnews@herald.ie

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