By Cormac Looney
Tuesday January 27 2009
SLAIN fugitive Richard Keogh was gunned down by a hitman who lured him on to a Spanish street with a simple phone call.
As the 30-year-old Cabra man left his bar rendezvous with a South American pal, a car stopped and a hitman emerged.
He fired at Keogh, hitting him once in front of his girlfriend, before chasing after his target. He shot the Dubliner a further six times -- including twice in the head.
The gunman was driven off in the stolen getaway car, which was recovered nearby with its keys in the ignition. A pair of gloves and a spent handgun magazine were also discovered in the car. All the materials are being examined.
The car was found a kilometre away from the scene of the murder, at the Torrequebrada hotel and casino at Benalmadena, southern Spain.
The Venezuelan man who had been drinking with Keogh in the minutes before his death was interviewed by police yesterday, but is not a suspect. He was held in custody after police discovered an arrest warrant existed for him in Venezuela.
The garda liaison officer, based in Madrid, is now working with Spanish National Police to uncover any links between the murder and a previous attempt on Keogh's life in Ireland 14 months ago.
Keogh survived after being struck in the arm, as he carried one of his children out the front door of his home on the Belfry estate in Duleek, Co Louth, in November 2007. He relocated to Spain with his partner and four children shortly afterwards.
"Keogh knew he was under threat and that the gang who targeted him in Duleek were still out to get him. He had no major falling out with any Costa gangs we known about, so the Dublin connection is a strong line of investigation," said a source.
Keogh came to garda attention as a major criminal around five years ago, when then gang boss Marlo Hyland used him as a bagman during drug dealing activities in north Dublin.
Former Detective Inspector Brian Sherry, who policed the Cabra area and battled the Hyland gang, told the Herald yesterday: "Pressure would have been exerted on Keogh from a number of sources -- in relation to Marlo's cash."
- Cormac Looney