herald

Thursday 13 December 2018

Gardai study gang killings for links to execution-style death of Clive (50)

Clive Staunton was shot dead
Clive Staunton was shot dead

A team of 30 gardai is working to identify the hitman responsible for the "professional" gun killing of father-of-one Clive Staunton.

The officers are preparing to review previous gangland murders to identify any similarities which could lead them to the gunman, it emerged yesterday.

Mr Staunton, who was not involved in crime, was a distant relative of the Hutch family, who are locked in Ireland's deadliest gangland feud with the Kinahan cartel.

He was killed in Leixlip, Co Kildare, last Thursday after returning from selling merchandise outside the Aviva Stadium.

Shots

Mr Staunton was shot several times as he sat in his van outside his home.

The gunman then approached the victim and fired two shots into his head as he attempted to get away.

Detectives believe the murder of Mr Staunton (50) was well planned and executed.

Two vehicles believed to have been used in the murder were later found burnt out near Kilbride, Co Wicklow - about 40 minutes away from the Glen Easton estate where the killing happened.

A source said gardai will review previous murders to see if there are any comparisons to the way in which Mr Staunton's murder was carried out which could help identify the killer.

"It's clear this was a professional hit from start to finish," the source said.

"They lay in wait, the way they executed him and the calm manner in which they drove a considerable distance before burning the cars.

"Very few murders are carried out this efficiently so gardai will obviously be looking for similarities with previous killings to help identify suspects."

At this stage gardai are probing if Mr Staunton was gunned down as part of the Hutch/Kinahan feud.

Before last week's murder, a total of 18 people had been killed as part of Ireland's deadliest gangland war.

They are also investigating if a dispute with dissidents over illicit cigarettes could have led to his killing.

A neighbour and friend of the dead man, Shane Cody, said Mr Staunton appeared "fine" when they spoke only hours before the shooting.

"I was only talking to him earlier in the day," he said.

"He was always in great form, had a smile on his face when you said hello to him.

"You could always have a chat with him. It's a nice area and stuff like this doesn't happen. I'm shocked."

Father

Speaking in Leixlip following the murder last week, Superintendent Gerry Wall said Mr Staunton's father Stan was in the house at the time of the shooting.

However, it is understood that he did not witness the murder.

Mr Staunton's son is understood to have been out of the country at the time.

Supt Wall said 30 detectives and uniformed members of the force worked through Thursday night on the killing.

He added that gardai were interested in the movements of a Volvo S40 car, which they believe may have taken the assassins to and from the scene.

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