Drug dealer gunned down on way to collect children
By Tom Brady Security Editor
Saturday July 19 2008
A convicted drug dealer, who worked with addicts in a rehabilitation project, was shot dead in a gangland-style murder outside his home yesterday.
The victim was named last night as Anthony Foster (34), who had served a six-year jail sentence for possession of cannabis.
Mr Foster was shot in the head as he left his home at Cromcastle Court flats complex in Coolock, on the northside of Dublin, to collect his children from a creche.
He was hit by a shotgun blast as he walked down the stairs from his top floor flat around 1.45pm and was dead when gardai arrived on the scene.
Last night, officers were working on the theory that Mr Foster had been killed because of a row with a drug trafficking gang.
It was the first gangland murder in three months and the seventh this year. The last victim was drug dealer Anthony Russell, who was gunned down in a pub in Artane.
Russell was a key associate of the leader of one of the north inner city feuding gangs, Christy Griffin, and gardai have ruled out any connection between that shooting and yesterday's incident.
Officers admitted last night that they were not yet following any definite line of inquiry.
They appealed for witnesses who may have seen the gunman near the flats at lunchtime yesterday to come forward. They have not yet established how he made his escape.
Detectives are investigating a separate incident in which the owner of a motorcycle shop was tied up at Malahide Road and a motorcycle stolen.
But they said the timing of the robbery -- it was carried out shortly before the murder -- indicated it was unlikely that it was connected to the shooting.
Gardai also suggested that if the gunman was acting alone, he probably left the flats complex on foot and later linked up with an accomplice.
Mr Foster was jailed for six years by the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, in May 2001, for handling cannabis worth €30,000. He pleaded guilty to possession of the drug with intent to supply in April 2000.
The court heard that Mr Foster had asked for help from the Merchant's Quay rehabilitation project when he became addicted to drugs -- after his brother had died from an overdose.
When Mr Foster overcame his addiction, he told volunteers that he wanted to help other addicts in the project.
Judge Elizabeth Dunne said Foster was very cynical to have worked helping addicts while selling cannabis resin.
The court was also told that €20,000 found in Mr Foster's home was the proceeds of drug dealing, while 12 blocks of cannabis resin were found in a neighbouring premises.
A detailed forensic search of the flats stairwell was carried out by gardai yesterday afternoon and State Pathologist Marie Cassidy made a preliminary examination of the victim's body before it was removed for a post mortem.
Last night, one of the officers leading the investigation, Det Supt Seamus Kane issued an appeal to anybody with information about the shooting to contact the gardai at Santry on (01) 6664200 or via the garda confidential line on 1800 666111.
Meanwhile, Fine Gael justice spokesman Charlie Flanagan called for a minimum 25-year jail sentence for convicted murderers. He said gangland criminals showed no concern for the law or human life and must be punished severely.
"Yet those convicted of murder get off far too lightly, often spending 12 or 13 years in jail for what is meant to be a life sentence," he added.
This is the fourth gangland murder in Dublin this year. Two others were committed in Limerick and one in Sligo.
- Tom Brady Security Editor