Killer Breen cremated in low-key ceremony
Gangland figure Karl Breen was cremated yesterday in a low-key ceremony which was attended by his family and closest friends.
Breen (34) died from a suspected drugs overdose in his Finglas apartment and his body was discovered there late on Monday night.
It is estimated that more than 30 of the convicted killer's family and friends paid their last respects at the short ceremony which took place at Newlands Cross Crematorium at 12.40pm yesterday.
Gardai have ruled out foul play in the former gang boss's death, and it is believed that he died after taking a cocktail of tablets including sleeping pills.
It has emerged that Breen had become increasingly disturbed and isolated in the weeks before his death after his release from jail last October.
Sources say he was paranoid that gardai and his former criminal associates were plotting to murder him and he was "ultra security conscious".
Gardai had been unaware that he was living at the apartment in the Tolka Vale complex on the Finglas Road until they were notified of his death at 11pm on Monday.
Breen had been in a relationship with a Finglas woman who, along with Breen's sister Kim and her partner, discovered his body in the apartment.
He was found slumped over on a seat and emergency services were immediately notified.
Gardai were quickly able to establish that the former gang boss had not been the victim of foul play.
The results of toxicology tests are expected to confirm that he died from a drugs overdose.
Since his release from prison, where he served a lengthy sentence for the manslaughter of his pal Martin McLaughlin, Breen found himself increasingly isolated and ended up hanging around with low-level criminals from Athlone, Co Westmeath.
Breen was given a nine-year jail sentence in October 2007 for the manslaughter of McLaughlin on January 1, 2006 during a cocaine and booze-fuelled session at Jury's Croke Park Hotel.
Breen earned his 'Champagne Killer' nickname when it emerged that he was one of a group of five couples who drank five bottles of Moet & Chandon before the New Year celebrations turned nasty.
At his murder trial, it was revealed that Breen stabbed his close friend three times in a brutal row before going on the run for two days.
The build-up to the case was marked by a campaign of terrifying intimidation against witnesses, driven by Breen's gangland associates.
He was the leader of a heroin trafficking mob who called themselves The Infamous D22 and were linked to at least three gangland murders between 2005 and 2007.
However, the gang began to lose ground to a mob nicknamed The Family after Breen was locked up.
The murder of his right-hand man, 24-year-old Pierce Reid, in August, 2009, was another huge blow to the gang whose influence had completely waned by the time Breen was released from jail four months ago.