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Criminal is fourth murder victim in just ten days as gangland gunmen defy armed gardai to strike again

A small-time Coolock crook was gunned down in Dublin's latest gangland killing -- 48 hours after armed gardai were posted on the streets of north Dublin.

The killers of Noel Deans (27) shot him in the head on Ferrycarrig Road, despite a highly publicised garda operation involving members of the ERU being in place in the area.

Sources today described the nature of the brazen gangland hit as "absolutely shocking".

A senior security source said: "That this could happen despite the well-known presence of armed units in Coolock shows just how out of control these gangs are."

Mr Deans had been socialising with friends at the Priorswood Inn in Coolock and left the pub shortly after 10pm to make his way to his partner's home on Macroom Road but he never made it.

Grudge

He was gunned down in a cul-de-sac on Ferrycarraig Road, Priorswood, on a laneway that led to his girlfriend's home, at around 10.20pm.

Gardai investigating the murder described Deans as a small-time figure in gangland crime.

His murder is not linked to the recent killing of John Paul Joyce, who was last seen in the Ferrycarrig area, before his body was discovered shot at Dublin Airport. They have also ruled out a connection to the murder last year of local criminal David 'Fred' Lynch last March.

Officers instead believe that a personal grudge may have been the motive.

A team of around 45 officers are investigating Mr Deans' killing and searching for the weapon used.

Deans, who had an address at Greenwood Lawn in Coolock, was originally from Darndale.

A post-mortem was conducted last night on the body of the the father-of-one, who had been in and out of prison repeatedly over the past 13 years for a litany of crimes.

He appeared in front of the courts for offences ranging from running over a garda, crack cocaine, criminal damage to cars, heroin, dangerous driving, petrol sniffing and ambushing and assaulting a taxi driver.

Fractures

The courts regularly heard of Deans' psychiatric problems and he was described as being a manic character with a long history of self-destructive behaviour.

He was imprisoned for the first time aged 14. It did not seem to act as a deterrent to Deans who reoffended again and again after release.

In 2000, Deans was before a judge after he ran over Garda Declan Nolan while driving a stolen car. The officer suffered numerous bone fractures in the incident April 1999.

Deans was being chased by gardai after stealing a car in Coolock. He crashed into a squad car before reversing over Garda Nolan, and was sentenced to four years.

His killing was the fifth in ten days after the murders of drug-trafficker John Paul Joyce, gun for hire Brendan Molyneaux and innocent victim Paddy Mooney.

hnews@herald.ie