He was a hard man in Crumlin and a hitman in Dublin . . . but he was way out of his depth in Spain
Mick McCaffrey, Security Editor
EARLY last October, gardai received an intelligence report from Spanish police about a dispute that had arisen between two Irish citizens and a Turkish crime syndicate on the Costa del Sol. The Guardia Civil had learned that two men named Frederick Thompson and Patrick Doyle had been warned that they would be murdered if they did not pay outstanding bills for a number of sizeable heroin shipments.
Thompson is said to have given two fingers to the bearer of the message, while Doyle laughed and said that he would personally kill anyone who threatened him.
Last Monday, Doyle was sitting in the passenger seat of his BMW X5 jeep in Estepona when he was ambushed by a number of gunmen who fired over two dozen shots from a machine pistol.
The 27-year-old managed to get out of the jeep and tried to run away but one of the gunmen, who wore no mask, calmly walked up to him and shot him twice in the head. Doyle was shot a total of 12 times.
Paddy Doyle is the latest Irish gangster to have died in Spain under the false belief that his fearsome reputation in this country would be enough to protect him when doing business with international drug traffickers.
A clear picture is only now beginning to emerge about the reasons for Doyle's clinical and coldblooded murder.
Freddie Thompson is one of the country's biggest criminals and is the leader of a Drimnaghbased drugs gang that has been involved in a bloody feud with a rival gang from Crumlin. At least 11 people have lost their lives since 2001 as a result of the feud.
Paddy Doyle was Thompson's hitman and enforcer-in-chief and was responsible for organising shipments of heroin and cocaine from Spain.
Doyle and Thompson were introduced to a Turkish family in London and for the past three years, the Turks have been supplying the Thompson gang with massive amounts of cheap heroin which is imported from Afghanistan.
Over the last 18 months, gardai have had considerable success in intercepting drugs shipments belonging to Thompson. The gang has lost millions of euro worth of revenue as a result of the seizures. Because of their financial straits, Thompson and Doyle had been reluctant to pay the Turks in Spain. This caused serious tensions to develop.
The Turks warned the two men that there would be repercussions if the bill was not settled and they were preparing to pay when a further shipment was seized near the Dublin docklands late last year.
The two Irish criminals then decided to hold off on paying until they could generate much-needed funds. Less than two weeks ago, Doyle was given a final warning, but he ignored it and met what was an inevitable fate.
THE murder of Patrick Doyle had no Irish involvement whatsoever, but it has the potential to be hugely significant in shaping the future gangland landscape here.
Doyle was probably the most violent and feared criminal operating in the capital and his presence was enough to deter the rival Crumlin gang from attempting to carry out attacks on Thompson gang members.
Gardai say that the Crumlin gang, which is led by a man serving a lengthy jail sentence, was so afraid that Doyle would come back to Dublin and hunt individual members down that it has effectively been on ceasefire.
With Doyle's demise, detectives now fear that this gang will attempt to reassert itself. This inevitably will result in the death toll rising further. Tensions in Crumlin and Drimnagh are already high after the attempted murder of 'The Viper' Martin Foley. One small incident might be enough to kick off a series of tit-for-tat killings.
Paddy Doyle had been based in Marbella since November 2005, when he fled Ireland after allegedly carrying out three murders in just two days.
His exile was not by choice. The convicted drug dealer made an amateur error after one of the killings and was facing immediate arrest if spotted by gardai.
Detectives say that on 15 November 2005, Doyle received a call on his mobile phone informing him that a member of the rival Crumlin gang was attending a Phil Collins concert at the Point theatre.
Along with another member of the Thompson gang, he picked up a Glock pistol and followed 27year-old Noel Roche to Clontarf and shot him dead outside The Yacht pub.
He then drove the getaway car to a nearby estate and set it alight, but fled before making sure that the car exploded. It didn't, and traces of Doyle's DNA were recovered. He boarded a flight to Alicante days later and had lived in Marbella since.
Two days before the Noel Roche murder, Doyle was said to have got into the back seat of a car at a housing estate in Firhouse for a meeting with two fellow Thompson gang members.
Darren Geoghegan and Gavin Byrne believed they were there to discuss an impending drugs delivery, but Doyle produced a 9mm pistol and shot both men in the back of the head.
They died before they realised that anything was amiss. The pair were murdered as a result of internal gang tensions over the control of drugs money. Doyle was also the prime suspect in the July 2002 murder of Timothy Rattigan in Crumlin. Eighteen-year-old Rattigan was a member of the rival Crumlin gang and was shot outside his home.
Doyle was well known to gardai and had amassed 42 convictions for a wide variety of offences including drug dealing, serious assault, theft and road traffic offences. He was regarded as a psychopath who took pleasure in inflicting violence. He beat a man to within inches of his life in a pub in Capel Street four years ago.
FREDDIE Thompson's role in last week's events has yet to be completely ascertained.
It was initially reported that Thompson and another criminal, Gary Hutch, were with Doyle in the jeep and managed to run away uninjured.
Hutch, who is a nephew of 'The Monk' Gerry Hutch, drove the vehicle and fled the scene while his friend was murdered. He later presented himself to Spanish police.
Freddie Thompson was definitely not in the jeep, although he was in Estepona and visited the scene less than an hour after the murder. He has since gone to ground, but has been in touch with members of his gang in Dublin.
Several sources have suggested to gardai that Thompson might have set up the murder because Doyle was getting too big, but this is not being treated too seriously. A senior garda source investigating the shooting of Martin Foley two weeks ago says that one of the lines of inquiry was to determine whether Paddy Doyle was in the country when the shooting happened. It is known that Doyle had returned to Ireland on several occasions over the last 28 months and was known to wear disguises including wigs. It is not thought that he was in Ireland when Foley was shot and seriously wounded although another member of the Thompson gang is the chief suspect.
Sources say there are "loads" of people ready and willing to replace Paddy Doyle as the Thompson gang's fixer on the Costa del Sol, but none of his potential successors has the same menace as the dead man. In any event, international drug gangs will be reluctant to do business with Thompson again because of his reputation for not paying his bills.
THE Costa del Sol is favoured by Irish gangsters and drug dealers because it is a mecca for international drug traffickers who use it as a base to import heroin, cocaine and cannabis from Morocco, Colombia and Afghanistan.
The Costa is like a European headquarters for distribution, with literally dozens of drug cartels doing business with each other there.
Tens of millions of euro worth of transactions are carried out each week.
The Spanish police and government have often been accused of taking a relaxed approach to the organised criminality in the region.
Dozens of Irish underworld figures call the 'Costa del Crime' home and Paddy Doyle is not the first to have crossed the wrong people there.
The bodies of the notorious Westies leaders Shane Coates and Steven Sugg were found in a concrete grave in Alicante in July 2006 after they fell out with a violent drugs gang. Drug dealers Sean Dunne and John McKeown are also missing presumed dead in Alicante.
One Dublin detective who has known both Doyle and Freddie Thompson since they were teenagers said: "The two lads were out of their depth in Spain dealing with a massive Turkish drugs syndicate with big links to Afghanistan.
Doyle was a hard man in Crumlin and half of the city was scared stiff of him, but he was a nobody in Spain up against the likes of the Russian mafia.
The problem was that he thought he was a big player, but he wasn't. He saw the Westies murdered in the same area because they were acting the hard men, so you'd think he would have learnt something. Freddie Thompson has gone to ground in Spain and he must fear that he is next.
That's what we think anyway. We have already told him that his life is in danger in Ireland and Spain is hardly a safe haven for him now either."
February 10, 2008