Mick McCaffrey, Security Editor
NOTORIOUS gangland figure Freddie Thompson has taken to wearing a wig as a disguise in the hope of preventing another attempt on his life.
Gardai have already foiled one assassination attempt on the 27year-old and there are currently three contracts out to kill him.
"Fat" Freddie Thompson is the leader of a Drimnagh-based drugs gang involved in a deadly feud with a rival Crumlin gang which has led to 11 murders.
He has been repeatedly told by gardai that he is in imminent danger and has been travelling between Spain and his home in Dublin's south inner city to evade his would-be killers.
Thompson has been seen by detectives on two occasions over the last month wearing a black curly wig and dark sunglasses in a bid to disguise himself. He suffers from premature baldness and his small stocky frame means he is instantly recognisable, so he has taken steps to change his appearance and is moving from house to house. The INLA, a former associate and the leader of the rival drug gang have all offered cash rewards for Thompson's murder.
Last month, two gunmen were intercepted by gardai on O'Connell Bridge on the way to murder Thompson, who was sitting in a car on nearby Parnell Square. He left the country immediately following the failed hit, but has since returned to Ireland.
In May 2005, the wife of a Crumlin gangster contacted gardai to say she was being followed by three men in a Ford Mondeo car.
Gardai stopped the vehicle and Freddie Thompson was the frontseat passenger. He was wearing a wig and sunglasses and swallowed the sim card of his phone as officers approached the car. The driver of the Mondeo was the 23-year-old who is currently the prime suspect for the attempted murder of 'The Viper' Martin Foley two months ago.
When gardai asked why he had changed his look, Thompson laughed and made a joke. A hammer, gloves, a balaclava and a leather belt for ammunition were found in the boot of the car.
Garda sources say Thompson is under severe pressure and has been behaving increasingly erratically since his close friend and gang member Patrick Doyle was shot dead in Spain last February.
Thompson is seen as being extremely vulnerable since the murder of 27-year-old Doyle, who was his hitman and enforcer-in-chief.
Doyle was executed in the town of Estepona on the Costa del Sol after falling foul of a Turkish drugs syndicate over unpaid bills for heroin shipments.
He had been living in Spain since November 2005, when he fled Ireland after carrying out three murders in as many days.
He had been organising shipments of drugs on behalf of Thompson but refused to pay for them after gardai intercepted a number of large deliveries.
Freddie Thompson was in Estep - ona when the murder took place and was on the scene within minutes. The Thompson gang has imploded since the Doyle murder and has effectively split in two.
Gardai say Thompson is a "dead man walking".
May 4, 2008