herald

Tuesday 16 October 2018

Gardai seize machine gun and pistols linked to hitman after chase

Gardai and the ERU raid a house in Darndale after the weapons bust
Gardai and the ERU raid a house in Darndale after the weapons bust

A "GILLY" operating for a gangland serial killer was busted with a cache of firearms as part of an escalating feud in north Dublin.

The arsenal, including a sub-machine gun and four handguns, was seized in Coolock after a garda chase.

Gardai fear that a bitter feud in the area is threatening to spiral out of control after the murder of Ken Finn in February.

Yesterday's weapons seizure is linked to a Dublin hitman (33) who has been feuding with an associate of Finn known as 'Mr Big'.

Gardai last night said they were unaware of underworld reports that the serial killer had survived a number of attempts on his life in recent days. One line of enquiry is that the seized firearms were part of an escalating gang war between crime groupings in the Coolock area.

Nasty

"This is developing into a very nasty situation indeed, and it was always going to be after the murder of Ken Finn," a senior source said.

"This was not an intelligence-led operation but, in fact, eagle-eyed gardai recognised the man driving the car as a known criminal and became suspicious."

A manhunt was last night continuing after the low-level criminal "gilly" fled after discarding the bag of firearms.

Gardai have established that he is linked to the serial killer and the two criminals have been spotted together in recent weeks. Shortly before 4pm yesterday, gardai conducting a routine patrol signalled for a vehicle to stop on the Greencastle Road.

However, the car sped away, which resulted in gardai taking up pursuit of the vehicle.

After a chase the car crashed on the Priorswood Road, and the driver fled the area. He was pursued through Ferrycarrig Park, where he discarded a bag before managing to escape.

A subsequent search of the bag led to five firearms and a significant quantity of ammunition being recovered.

A senior source last night told the Herald that the on-the-run criminal was known to local gardai and officers were in the process of tracking him down.

The vehicle believed to be linked to the investigation has been seized, while the firearms have been removed to the ballistic section at garda HQ for forensic examination. Gardai later raided a house in the area.

Tensions have been simmering in the Coolock area ever since 'Mr Big' gang member Ken Finn (36) was shot dead outside a house in Moatview Gardens, Darndale, in late February.

The Herald previously revealed a northside gang boss ordered a hit on a serial killer gangster because of Finn's murder, and yesterday's dramatic bust is linked to that killing.

Finn's killer is one of the capital's most notorious hitmen.

Ironically, the killer - who is originally from Donaghmede - was pals with Finn, and both criminals were previously arrested for the fatal shooting of Noel Deans in January 2010.

Deans (27) was shot after leaving the Priorswood Inn pub. It is believed the notorious "gun-for-hire" shot him dead over a large cannabis debt the victim had built up that he was unable or unwilling to pay.

The suspected serial killer was arrested for the murder of Anthony Ayodeji in Darndale in July 2008. He was shot as he held a baby boy in his arms.

The gunman is also suspected of a botched murder attempt on slain Traveller criminal John Paul Joyce in the same year.

Among the murders that gardai have questioned him about is that of Tallaght criminal Mark Byrne (29) who was shot dead outside Mountjoy Prison.

Sources say he masterminded Byrne's murder just minutes after the victim was released from jail on temporary release after the two men became involved in a prison row in May 2005.

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