Friday, 18 November 2005

Gang feud driver is quizzed as gardai find the killer's gun

By Tom BradySecurity Editor

Friday November 18 2005
THE driver of the car ambushed by gunmen in Dublin on Tuesday night was being questioned by gardai last night about withholding information on a serious crime.

Gardai have also recovered the murder weapon used in the ambush.

The 32-year-old suspect, who is from Drimnagh, fled the scene after his passenger, Noel Roche (27), was shot in the head.

Noel Roche's younger brother John (25) was killed in Kilmainham last March.

The driver abandoned his Mondeo car in the middle of Clontarf Road and attempted to gain entry to a nearby house to escape.

A garda hunt in the area failed to locate him, although detectives found several bloodstains on the doorstep of the house.

But yesterday, the man contacted his solicitors in Dublin city centre and a meeting was arranged with detectives investigating the murder of the seventh victim of the bloody ongoing feud between gangs in the Crumlin-Drimnagh area.

Gardai interviewed the man for some time but later decided to arrest him under section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act.

He was taken to Raheny garda station, where he was being questioned last night about allegedly holding back information about the shooting and the feud.

The man can be held for a maximum of 72 hours in custody without charge.

Meanwhile, it emerged last night that a handgun, believed to have been used to shoot Mr Roche, was hidden in the glove compartment of the killers' abandoned getaway car.

The car, a beige Peugeot 307, had been stolen in Blessington, Co Wicklow, five weeks ago, and was hurriedly abandoned by the killers in Furry Park, Killester, a short distance from the murder scene.

Gardai found the handgun, balaclavas and other clothing in the car and are hopeful that forensic tests will yield vital fingerprint and DNA evidence to help identify the killers.

Officers think the tests on the car and its contents could lead to a crucial breakthrough in their inquiries into the killing.

The murder of Mr Roche and the attempted shooting of the car driver was intended to have been reprisal killings for the fatal gun attack on Darren Geoghegan, of Lissadell Drive, Drimnagh, and Gavin Byrne, from Windmill Park, Crumlin, in Firhouse on Sunday night last.

After that incident, the killers set their BMW getaway car on fire. The blaze badly damaged two handguns which had been left behind in the vehicle.

Gardai said their decision to throw away the murder weapons indicated that the gangs were heavily armed and had a haul of extra guns in reserve.

- Tom BradySecurity Editor

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