Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Gang suspected of 'execution hit' on drug dealer near school

By Ralph Riegel

Wednesday May 23 2007

GARDAI launched a murder hunt yesterday after the execution-style killing of a convicted drug dealer just yards from a national school.

Detectives now believe that David 'Boogie' Brett (33) was lured to the remote north Cork school by drugs associates.

Gardai were last night trying to confirm whether the killing was carried out on behalf of a Limerick or Dublin-based gang. They admitted the murder has hallmarks of a contract hit.

The man's mobile phone records will form a key part of the inquiry, in particular regarding his contacts just before his death.

Friends of his family last night admitted they were appalled at the killing. They said the dead man had been trying to build a new life with his three children, aged three to nine years.

His body was found by a local woman near his 1999-registered silver Audi A4 car off a road outside Ballydesmond on the Cork-Kerry border on Monday night.

The car was parked near Foilogohig national school, about three miles from Ballydesmond village, between Kanturk and Rathmore.


Mr Brett died of one or possibly two gunshot wounds to the upper neck and head. Forensic experts believe he was shot at point-blank range and would have died instantly.

There were no initial signs of a struggle and detectives suspect he knew his killers.

Mr Brett had previously served a jail term for drugs offences involving supply of ecstasy tablets. He was known to be associated with one of the most notorious Cork drugs gangs, which makes millions each year from cocaine and ecstasy.

The dead man left Cork city two years ago, relocating to Charleville on the Cork-Limerick border with his partner and children, two boys and a girl. He maintained very close links with his native Togher, in Cork. From a family of eight, he had three brothers and four sisters, all of whom live in the Cork area.

Last night, garda sources stressed that while they were keeping an open mind on the motive for the killing, they are working on the suspicion it may have been drug-related.

Gardai were last night examining reports that he may have owed a substantial sum to underworld figures for several years. It is believed he was working hard to clear the debts, but that those involved were demanding repayments on a faster basis.

After the body was discovered, Gardai immediately sealed off the entire Foilogohig Road area. The murder probe is now being led by Supt Noel Galwey.

A full technical examination by members of the Garda Technical Bureau began at first light yesterday. Motorists were warned to avoid the area as the road remained closed. A preliminary examination was conducted by Dr Margaret Bolster.

The body was later removed to hospital where a full post-mortem examination was scheduled to be carried out last night.

Gardai have appealed to anyone who was in the Foilogohig Road area on Monday and who may have spotted activity of any kind to contact them. A special incident room has been set up at Kanturk Garda Station.

- Ralph Riegel