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Suspect's phone 'pinged' in race to catch 'under threat' shooter

Detectives fear killer is now target for ‘Dee Dee’ gang and suspect is said to be 'very dangerous' young Dublin thug

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The scene of Monday’s murder

The scene of Monday’s murder

The scene of Monday’s murder

A photo of the 25-year-old chief suspect in Monday's gun murder in the capital was circulated to all garda stations in the city as a manhunt continued last night.

Detectives said he might be safer in their custody, as it is feared that associates of the dead man may also be hunting for him.

The criminal is wanted over the murder of Thomas McCarthy (55), who was shot dead at his mother's home in Croftwood Park, Bally- fermot.

"Gardai want to arr-est and question this individual for the murder. He is the chief suspect and an alert has been issued," a senior source told the Herald last night.

Reckless

As part of the manhunt, specialist officers tried to "ping" his mobile phone in the early hours of yesterday to obtain his exact location after receiving information he was in the city centre.

"A reckless criminal going around with a gun in the middle of town is not a good prospect, but gardai have not yet been able to locate him," the source said.

It is understood the suspect's social media accounts are being monitored as part of the investigation.

The Herald previously revealed that gardai are investigating whether Mr McCarthy travelled back to the capital from his home in England to "seek retribution" after the suspect assaulted a woman who was well-known to him.

However, it was a case of who could strike first, and Mr McCarthy was gunned down in a hail of bullets fired from a handgun by his killer, who wore a mask when he called to the door.

The suspect has numerous previous convictions, including for knife crimes and reckless driving offences and has served a number of jail terms.

He has also been homeless on occasion.

"He is a very, very dangerous young man, as can be seen with what happened to the unfortunate Mr McCarthy, who was shot eight times when he answered the door to that property on Monday - it was literally overkill. The sooner he is brought in, the better," the source said.

A previous court hearing heard the suspect had a "volatile" childhood and had been abusing alcohol and sleeping tablets from a young age.

The Herald has learned he amassed around 20 previous criminal convictions before he turned 18.

Sources also revealed that the suspect is in "grave danger" from associates of the murdered man, including a 49-year-old who is considered a key member of the notorious Derek 'Dee Dee' O'Driscoll gang.

Messy

Gardai initially investigated if the 49-year-old, who was very close to murder victim Mr McCarthy, was the target of the murder, and sources said that this had not been ruled out.

"The truth of the matter is that garda custody might well be the safest place for this murder suspect," the source said.

"If the 'Dee Dee' gang set their sights on him, it could all get extremely messy."

An investigation led by Ballyfermot gardai continued last night into the first gangland murder in the capital for many months.

Officers continued to appeal for information as they disclosed that a third car was used in Monday's murder.

"A black Toyota Avensis with registration number 10-D-123251 was sighted in the vicinity of Woodford Walk between 10.57am and 11.06am on Monday morning," a garda spokeswoman said.

"Gardai are interested in the movements of this vehicle before and after this sighting.

"The car was later discovered burnt out on Peamount Road, Newcastle, Co Dublin, at 9.30pm on Monday.

"Gardai are appealing to anyone who may have observed this vehicle between the hours of 10am and 9.30pm on Monday or who may have any information in relation to this vehicle, to contact them."

Earlier, gardai appealed for information about two cars that had been used by the lone gunman, a blue Ford Fiesta that was driven from the scene and a Skoda Octavia that the killer then got into.

The Fiesta was found burnt-out in nearby Le Fanu Drive, while the Skoda was set on fire in the Monksfield area of Clondalkin.

It is believed the killer then transferred to the third car, the Avensis, which was burnt-out in Newcastle on Monday night.

"This was well planned and a large amount of CCTV is being analysed from a large number of locations in west Dublin and beyond," gardai said.

A senior source said four shots were fired at Mr McCarthy when he answered the door of the property, and four more inside the house.

Mr McCarthy was married with children and had been living in Essex. He had been back home for just over a week when he was shot dead.

Tensions

"This murder could increase tensions in the Ballyfermot area after what has been a relatively calm period in the locality, especially if the Dee Dee O'Driscoll gang decide to seek revenge for the murder," a senior source said.

O'Driscoll is one of the most dangerous criminals in Irish gangland and has previous convictions including for bribing a garda, violent disorder and perverting the course of justice.