herald

Saturday 7 December 2019

Married 2016, murdered 2019 - and groomsman was slain too

Whelan and Lynch at Whelan's wedding
Whelan and Lynch at Whelan's wedding
The car in which Wayne Whelan was murdered is seen ablaze, with his body in the passenger seat

Gardai are investigating if the country's latest murder victim was targeted by former associates as part of an internal crime gang dispute.

Wayne Whelan (42) was sitting in a car passenger seat in Lucan last Monday when he was blasted in the head.

The vehicle was then set ablaze.

Whelan was a close assoc- iate and personal friend of money-launderer David 'Chen' Lynch (40), who was shot dead in nearby Clondalkin last March.

Psychopath

Our main image shows the two men together at Whelan's wedding in 2016, when Lynch was a groomsman, along with the wedding party, none of whom has any involvement in crime.

Both murder victims were suspected of involvement in the gun killing of Mark Desmond, nicknamed the 'Guinea Pig', in December 2016.

Psychopath Desmond was shot dead in Lucan, metres from Whelan's home.

Whelan was arrested as part of the garda investigation into Desmond's murder.

Detectives believe the three killings may be linked and are investigating the involvement of a Ballyfermot-based crime group for Whelan's murder.

Those of interest include a former business partner of Whelan, aged in his 30s, who was also suspected of involvement in the Desmond murder.

A source said gardai are looking at a number of theories about the Desmond, Lynch and Whelan murders.

The possibility that the most recent victims were revenge hits for the murder of Desmond could not be ruled out.

"The three murders may be directly linked, and this is one avenue being looked at," the source said.

"One individual is suspected of involvement in both the Desmond and Whelan murders, which is being linked to an internal row. It's a very complex investigation."

Gardai believe Whelan went to meet somebody he trusted before being shot in the head and the car he was sitting in set on fire.

He had survived a previous attempt on his life in September in which he was blasted several times near his home.

Three men suspected of involvement in that incident, who are all from the Ballyfermot area, were arrested and released only days before Whelan was shot dead.

"Although Whelan appears to have gone to meet someone he feels he could have trusted, the involvement of people suspected of a previous attempt on him is being looked at," a source said.

Earlier this week, Supt Paul Dolan appealed for information in relation to the vehicle in which Whelan was sitting when he was shot.

"The car itself was a navy Toyota, registration number 05 CW 2225," Supt Dolan said.

"It was sold on November 13. I'm appealing for anyone who has seen this car, or knows of its whereabouts since November 13, to contact gardai.

"I'm appealing to any person in Mount Andrew estate who has seen this vehicle, or has seen anything suspicious in and around the time of this incident on Monday night.

"This was the night of the Ireland versus Denmark soccer match."

Inaction

In the aftermath of the shooting, Fianna Fail councillor and by-election candidate in Dublin Mid-West, Shane Moynihan, condemned the attack.

He said the Government's "inaction against violent drug crime" has led to the situation getting out of hand.

"Families in Dublin Mid-West don't need yet another announcement by the Government promising an increase in garda numbers," Mr Moynihan said.

"We must stop governing by press release and start getting these gardai on to the streets of Dublin Mid-West.

"My thoughts are with those affected, in particular those in Mount Andrew who have to deal with the shock of what has happened on their doorsteps."

One neighbour in the estate told the Herald he first heard a car horn beeping for a few minutes, and when he looked out he saw a vehicle on the roadway close to where the Toyota was later found to be on fire.

"Thinking back, it was like the driver was beeping the horn trying to draw attention to the fact that the parked car was on fire and they wanted to raise the alarm," he said.

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