Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Rattigan's crime gang collapses as he starts jail

Rattigan's crime gang collapses as he starts jail

By Edel Kennedy

Wednesday December 23 2009

THE Crumlin gang involved in a feud which claimed the lives of 12 people has fallen apart as its members "go it alone".

Gang boss Brian Rattigan (28) was jailed last week after being found guilty of the murder of Declan Gavin (21) in August 2001. His death sparked the feud between him and former friend and gang member Freddie Thompson, which went on to claim at least 12 lives.

However, garda sources said last night that Rattigan's gang has broken up, with no "big player" stepping into his shoes.

"There are some associates there, but they're flimsy enough," said a garda who was involved in a seven-year probe that put Rattigan behind bars.

He said their information indicates that Thompson's gang is "a little stronger".

Things in Crumlin and Drimnagh -- where the two gangs were based -- are now said to be "reasonably quiet".

But gardai remain on a heightened state of alert and are conscious of the fact that Rattigan may order the killing of a rival -- or a member of the force -- from his prison cell.

However, gardai are helped by the fact that many of the remaining members of Rattigan's gang have split and moved from the Crumlin area. They became so well known to local gardai that their movements were hampered by officers.

"We are very aware of who is involved and we are carrying on searches all the time," said a garda source.

Many of the remaining criminals have proven that they are not loyal to their boss, Rattigan, and have even switched sides to work for Thompson.

"People tend to think of these people as being in a set gang but it's often not like that at all," the source said.

It's thought that Rattigan still has young criminals working for him as runners to keep his drug empire ticking over.

Gavin, who was the first fatality of the feud, was labelled a 'rat' before Rattigan stabbed him to death at a Abrakebabra fast-food outlet on the Crumlin Road on August 25, 2001.


The Central Criminal Court trial heard that a Nissan Micra pulled up at the outlet shortly after 3am. Mr Gavin approa-ched the car, and someone inside it shouted: "You rat."

A man wearing a balaclava and carrying a large knife got out of the car and approached Mr Gavin, pulled down his balaclava and asked: "Do you remember me?", before stabbing him in the chest.

The gang war, which is still simmering, stemmed from a row between former criminal associates over a drug seizure in a Dublin city centre hotel a year before Mr Gavin's death.

- Edel Kennedy

Irish Independent

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Sixteen deaths linked to vicious Crumlin/Drimnagh gang war

Sunday Tribune

Murdered: Darren Geoghegan, a member of the Thompson gang
John Roche
1 2 Sixteen people have now been murdered – either directly or indirectly – as part of the Crumlin/Drimnagh feud with the average age of the victims being just 23. Declan Gavin was the first victim when he was stabbed to death outside a fast food restaurant at the Crumlin Shopping Centre in August 2001. Brian Rattigan was last week found guilty of his murder.
Rattigan's brother, 18-year-old Joseph Rattigan, was the next to die, shot dead close to his home on Cooley Road in Drimnagh in July 2002. Paul Watten (23), who made the phone call luring Rattigan to his death, was shot dead in a retaliatory attack in a pub in Newmarket Square, Dublin 8 in February 2004. The next to die was 24-year-old John Roche who was shot dead outside his apartment in Kilmainham in March 2005.
Drug dealer Terry Dunleavy was murdered in April 2005 in Dublin's north inner city because he owed the Thompson gang money while two leading members of the Thompson gang, Darren Geoghegan and Gavin Byrne, were killed by their own gang in November 2005 in Firhouse. The day after that double murder Noel Roche was shot dead on the Clontarf Road after he left a Phil Collins concert in the Point Theatre. He was a close friend of Brian Rattigan and brother of John Roche, who was shot dead as part of the feud the year before. Suspected informer Wayne Zambra was shot dead on Cameron Street in the south inner city in August 2006 by the Rattigan gang, while Gary Bryan – who was suspected of murdering both Paul Warren and Wayne Zambra – was shot dead in Walkinstown in September 2006.
In December 2006, Eddie McCabe, a 21-year-old petty car thief, was tortured and dumped in a laneway in Inchicore. One of his eyes had been gouged out with a sewer rod and he later died from his injuries. He was murdered because he handed in an illegal mobile phone to prison guards while serving a jail sentence in Mountjoy.
In July 2007, 20-year-old Ian Kenny was shot by a close friend in Stillorgan on the orders of Freddie Thompson, who agreed to sanction the killing as a favour to a young criminal who was acting as his driver. Kenny was in a coma until last August when his family turned off his life-support machine.
The feud spread to Spain in February 2008 when Paddy Doyle, the 27-year-old "enforcer" for the Thompson gang, was shot dead by a Turkish drug syndicate over an unpaid debt. He had fled to Spain in November 2005 and is regarded as being the prime suspect for the murders of Darren Geoghegan, Gavin Byrne and Noel Roche over a 36-hour period. In September 2008, Christopher "Git" McDonagh was shot dead at his home in Ronanstown after being blamed for a €2.7m drug shipment that was intercepted by gardaí. In March 2009 Brian Rattigan's sister's partner, Shay O'Byrne, was shot dead outside his home in Tallaght. Sharon Rattigan tackled the gunman and was shot in the leg. In July, 26-year-old Anthony Cannon, who was the "enforcer" for the Rattigan gang, was murdered in an ambush in Ballyfermot.
The murders of O'Byrne and Cannon effectively spelled the end of the Rattigan gang as a serious force.
'Cocaine wars: Fat Freddie Thompson and the Crumlin/Drimnagh Feud', by Mick McCaffrey and published by Merlin, will be on sale in January
December 20, 2009

'A very dangerous young man' who enjoys fierce loyalty despite being in jail

Sunday Tribune

Brian Rattigan winks at the press cameras last Thursday outside the High Court where he was found guilty of the murder of Declan GavinBrian Rattigan was born on 20 July 1980 and has spent the majority of his life living at the family home on Cooley Road in Drimnagh. The three-bedroom Corporation house was shared with his mother Christine 'Dinah', brothers Joseph and Ritchie, and sister Sharon. Joseph was murdered in 2002 as part of the feud and in retaliation for the Declan Gavin killing.
Rattigan is involved in a long-term relationship with 26-year-old Natasha McEnroe, who has stood by him even though he has been in jail for the last six years. She regularly visits him in Portlaoise, where he is held on the maximum security E1 landing with some of the country's most notoriouis criminals. McEnroe was arrested as part of the Gavin murder investigation and told gardaí the dead man was "only a rat". She said her only regret about the murder was that someone "should have got a motorbike and done it right. I hated him." She has vowed to wait for Rattigan, despite the fact he will not be released for at least another 15 years. Rattigan previously worked with a builders' providers company and as a labourer on road building projects, but he was unemployed since his release from prison in 2001 after serving a sentence for assault.
Despite being one of the country's most serious criminals, the guilty verdict in the Gavin murder case was only his seventh criminal conviction. However, they have all been for serious offences, including a six-year term for possession of €27,000 worth of heroin in May 2003. He is currently serving this sentence.
The other convictions have all involved him using considerable violence. In April 2001, two months after the Gavin murder, he was convicted of two counts of assault causing harm at Trim Circuit Court. These convictions relate to an incident which occurred in Navan in June 1999 during which he beat two youths with a sewer rod and a bottle causing both serious head injuries. One of them required 24 stitches and the other needed 30 stitches and a blood transfusion.
Fondness for violence
In February 2004, Rattigan was jailed for four years after firing five bullets from a shotgun at a garda car. The then 23-year-old pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm with the intention of causing harm and resisting arrest during the incident in February 2003 at Bluebell Road. When he was confronted by detective garda Jim Matthews, who was attempting to arrest him, Rattigan fired at his garda car, which led to the detective firing a warning shot in the air. He was later sentenced to four-and-a-half years for this offence.
In April 2005, Rattigan was convicted of assault causing serious harm, violent disorder and attempting to unlawfully seize a vehicle in April 2000. Rattigan attacked a taxi driver after he failed to stop to pick him up. He ran after the moving car and pulled the driver by the hair and viciously beat him. The judge called him a "very dangerous young man".
Rattigan's fondness for violence is well known and he has a quick temper. In February 2002, Brian and Joey Rattigan had words with two brothers after a family night out in the north inner city. A man intervened and was viciously attacked by Brian Rattigan and required 80 stitches to his head. Rattigan produced a black revolver during the altercation and this was later recovered by gardaí.
Rattigan was lucky to escape death during a failed murder attempt on 17 March 2002. He was at home at 4am when Paddy Doyle and Freddie Thompson kicked down Rattigan's door and made their way into the bedroom. Doyle shot him at point blank range. The bullet struck Rattigan's stomach and he lost a kidney as a result. His girlfriend identified Thompson as the shooter but the DPP directed there be no prosecution. Later, in retaliation, Rattigan is suspected of carrying out a drive-by shooting on Judge Darley's pub where rival gang members were drinking.
Although Rattigan has been in jail for six years, he continues to run his criminal empire from behind bars and is suspected of orchestrating murders from the comfort of his cell. While he heads the drugs gang involved in the feud with Freddie Thompson, he has been in jail while the majority of the 16 feud murders have occurred. Nine of the victims were in his gang. He was found in possession of a mobile phone in the Midlands jail two years ago. It contained pictures of the Paul Warren murder scene which gardaí suspect were sent to him by criminal associates.
Sources say despite his incarceration, he continues to make all the day-to-day decisions. In prison, he is regarded as one of the "hard men" in the jail and enjoys a comfortable lifestyle. He had a pet budgie, Shrek, until last year when it was seized during a search of the jail. He also previously had a flatscreen TV in his cell. He has been taking steroids for the past number of years and has the physique of a body builder. When he had his mobile phone he took many pictures of himself. While serving his sentence, Rattigan forged alliances with the Keane/Collopy gang in Limerick through his friendship with Christy Keane, who was released earlier this year after serving a drugs sentence. Gardaí believe Limerick criminals have carried out shootings in Dublin on behalf of the Rattigan gang and vice-versa.
Influence has waned
Notorious criminal Liam Keane spent several months living in Crumlin two years ago after his life was threatened in Limerick. The ties between Rattigan and the Keanes were clearly evident on 21 April 2007. Rattigan's partner Natasha McEnroe was in a pub in Crumlin and Liam Keane was present. A row occurred outside the pub and Keane went to his car and produced a handgun. Gardaí were called although the weapon was never recovered. Graffiti started to appear claiming Keane and Natasha McEnroe were having an affair, but it is believed the Freddie Thompson gang was responsible in an attempt to split Rattigan and Keane's working relationship.
Though he has been in prison for a long time, Rattigan continues to enjoy the fierce loyalty of his gang, of which there are up to 40 direct and indirect members. He will now serve a mandatory life sentence for the Declan Gavin murder, but it is unlikely his influence on his gang will lessen. Though, as most of his key associates have either been murdered or jailed, his gang's influence has waned considerably and there have been few feud incidents in the past four months.
December 20, 2009

Friday, 18 December 2009

Row over drugs tip-off turned crime associates into enemies

Row over drugs tip-off turned crime associates into enemies

By Tom Brady Security Editor

Friday December 18 2009

NINE years ago, they were all friends and criminal associates. They grew up together as a gang and graduated from minor crime on the southside of Dublin to focus on the highly lucrative drug-trafficking trade.

But an incident in the autumn of 2000 resulted in a split that developed into street warfare between the two factions. This became known as the Crumlin-Drimnagh feud.

The feud has so far claimed the lives of 12 young men, while at least five other murder victims have been on the periphery of the gangs but their deaths were not directly attributable to the gang rows.

The gangsters split over who was responsible for tipping off gardai about a drugs shipment that had been smuggled into Dublin. The tip led to the seizure of a €1.5m haul of ecstasy and cocaine in a raid on the Holiday Inn in Pearse Street in the city centre.

Less than a year later, Declan Gavin became the first victim. This was followed in July 2002 by the murder of Joseph Rattigan, Brian's brother. He was shot with a handgun minutes after leaving his girlfriend's home.

The main suspect for the Rattigan shooting was Paddy Doyle, who was regarded by gardai as the enforcer for the rival gang leader. Doyle was shot dead in Spain last year.

The arrest of a number of key players in the feud resulted in a lull in the warfare until February 2004, when Paul Warren (23), of St Teresa's Gardens, in the south inner city, was shot dead in a pub in Newmarket Square. This was a revenge shooting for the Rattigan murder.

Gardai suspect the "hit" on Warren was carried out by John Roche and, in March 2005, Roche (25), from Clonmacnoise Road, Crumlin, was shot in the chest as he left his car in Kilmainham.

The feud escalated savagely in November 2005. Darren Geoghegan (26), from Lissadell Drive, Drimnagh, and Gavin Byrne (30), from Windmill Park, Crumlin, were lured to their death at Carrigwood in Firhouse. The two victims had been members of the same gang as Paul Warren and Geoghegan had been the prime suspect for Roche's murder.

They were initially thought to have been killed by the rival faction but gardai later formed the view they had been murdered by associates.

Two days later, Noel Roche, John's brother, was shot dead in the passenger seat of a car in Clontarf. Doyle was also suspected of being involved in that case and, last July, Craig White (23) was jailed for life for his part in the crime.


In August 2006, Wayne Zambra (21) was shot in the head as he sat in his car in Cameron Street, off Cork Street. He had been part of the gang that killed Paul Warren but could also have been a victim of an internal row.

The following month, Gary Bryan (31), who was blamed for Warren's murder, was shot dead in revenge. He had just been released from jail and was killed on Bunting Road, Dublin. The 10th victim, Eddie McCabe (21), was beaten to death in a laneway off Tyrconnell Road, Inchicore, in December 2006. He was not closely aligned to the feuding gangs but was believed to have been present when Zambra was killed.

And after a lull of almost 27 months, Shay O'Byrne (27) became the 11th victim in March. He was shot in front of his girlfriend and a baby outside their Tallaght home.

In July, Anthony Cannon (26) was gunned down near a GAA club in Ballyfermot because he was the prime suspect for another shooting five weeks earlier.

- Tom Brady Security Editor

Irish Independent

A history of violence

Irish Herald

By Kevin Doyle
Friday December 18 2009
Brian Rattigan's tit-for-tat feud with 'Fat' Freddie Thompson began over damage to a bicycle and quickly spiralled into bloody warfare.
Since that minor act of vandalism 11 years ago, the Crumlin/Drimnagh feud has split communities, scarred families and claimed 15 lives.
It's an urban feud straight from a Hollywood blockbuster with two ruthless criminals terrorising ordinary citizens and showing no regard for those who might get caught in the crossfire of their struggle for power.
Gardai credit the burning of the bike belonging to one of Thompson's pals as the starting point in the neighbourhood squabble. In retaliation, an attempt was made to petrol bomb the suspected culprit's house -- even though there was nothing to associate him with the incident.
After the bicycle, the Rattigan gang used acid to burn a car belonging to the mother of a Thompson associate.
But it was late 2000 when the feud exploded in all-out warfare. Detectives raided a room in the Holiday Inn on Pearse Street where they found €1.5m of ecstasy and cocaine. Murder victim Declan Gavin had left the room to park a car when gardai burst in, leading Rattigan to believe he was a snitch.
Less than a year later, Gavin (21) found himself eye-to-eye with a balaclava-clad and knife-wielding Rattigan outside Abrakebabra in Crumlin. A witness said Rattigan ran towards the drug dealer and asked: "Do you remember me?" before saying: "You're dead."
In February 2002, the rival gangs clashed during a Rattigan family gathering, turning it into a bloody brawl. One man was so badly assaulted that he received 80 stitches to the head.
In just three years, south Dublin had witnessed one murder, six firearm incidents, two men shot and a series of vicious assaults. But that was just the beginning. By July, both sides were entrenched in the battle.
The second life claimed was that of Joseph Rattigan (18), Brian's brother. He was shot at point-blank range on Cooley Road in Crumlin by men who were believed to be associates of Thompson.
At the start of 2003, members of the Rattigan gang faced down gardai during a high-speed car case. Shots from a pump-action shotgun were levelled at officers from Kilmainham Garda Station and they ultimately had to respond by discharging a firearm of their own.
In February 2004, Rattigan gang enforcer, Gary Bryan, is reported to have killed Paul Warren (24) in the toilets of Grey's in Newmarket Square. Rattigan believed that Warren played some part in his brother's death.
Less than two years later, the first double murder saw Gavin Byrne (30) and Darren Geoghegan (26) killed inside a silver Lexus. Some evidence suggested it was retaliation, but it might have been a double cross by Thompson's men.
Geoghegan had previously laughed in the face of gardai when they tried to warn him of a serious threat to his life.
Two days after their killing, on November 15, 2005, Noel Roche (27) was murdered as he sat in a car in Clontarf. His brother John (24) had been shot dead in March by Thompson's gang.
In the meantime, Terrence Dunleavy (26) from Ballybough had also been gunned down. He was reported to have sold a bike to a member of the Rattigan gang which was later used in an attack on a Thompson gang member.
All the time various other assaults were taking place in the background as gardai valiantly struggled to keep track of the growing gang numbers.
Officers believe that both sides were using advance surveillance tactics and on one occasion even lured an assault victim to the Blanchardstown Shopping Centre using a honeytrap.
On August 19, 2006, Wayne Zambra was executed on Cameron Street in Dublin 8. An associate of the Rattigan gang, Zambra (22) was shot in the head, while a friend was also shot in the leg.
Gary Bryan (31) -- who had been linked to the Warren murder -- was believed to be the gunman in the Zambra case.
And just over a month later, Bryan, who was known to gardai as Rattigan's gun-for-hire found himself on the wrong side of a trigger and was fatally shot. The 11th victim -- Eddie McCabe -- was found with what gardai described as horrific injuries on a laneway at the rear of Tyrconnell Road in Dublin.
One of his eyes had been gouged out. McCabe had a loose association with Thompson's gang and was regarded as a "soft target" by the opposing mob.
There was another double murder in October 2007 when Brian Downes and Eddie Ward were shot dead at Downes' garage on the Greenhills Road.
Downes had been quizzed about the murder of John Roche. Ward was an entirely innocent man who was shot because he witnessed Downes' killing.
Gardai did manage to clamp down on the much of the gangland activity in 2008 as Thompson fled the country and to a hideout in the Costa del Sol from where rumours of his death frequently surfaced.
A tentative ceasefire was agreed after an intervention from some female family members on both sides, but the feud resurfaced again this year.
In March, the partner of Brian Rattigan's sister, Sharon, was injured, while her partner Shay O'Byrne (27) was killed. Ms Rattigan never had any involvement in the feud.
And in July, Anthony Cannon (26), from Robert Street in the city, was shot dead in Ballyfermot.
Gardai believe that Cannon, a pal of Rattigan's, was behind a number of feud-related attacks in the year before his death.
Today's verdict marks a big achievement on the part of gardai who have faced an uphill battle in trying to bring this feud under control.
Still though, the Crumlin/Drimnagh feud involves up to 30 hard core members on either side.
At least 100 people are believed to be directly linked to Thompson and Rattigan, and both have now formed links with the notorious gangs of Limerick.
But today at least, 'Fat' Freddie Thompson remains in Spain and on the run in Spain, while Brian Rattigan will be behind bars for years to come.
- Kevin Doyle

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Peace brokered in Sheriff Street gangland feud

Sunday Tribune

Ali Bracken, Crime Correspondent
Stephen Ledden
Anthony Russell
Christy Griffin
1 2 3 A tentative peace deal has been brokered between factions feuding on Sheriff Street in Dublin's north inner city.
Three people have been killed so far in the gangland dispute, which has its roots in a series of rapes by paedophile gang boss Christy Griffin of his partner's young daughter.
Gangland boss Griffin (38), of Ridgewood Green in Swords, and formerly of Canon Lillis Avenue in Dublin 1, was handed down a life sentence in 2007 for the rapes.
When the allegation emerged five years ago, Griffin's armed robbery and drug-dealing gang fell apart. Some of his henchmen remained loyal to him but others were appalled by the rape and formed their own faction in opposition to the Griffin gang.
Gardaí maintain a 24-hour presence in Sheriff Street because of tensions, but were recently informed that the two opposing factions have agreed to end their attacks against each other. The two groups refused to sit down together but intermediaries brokered the deal, it is understood.
Detectives offered two years ago to mediate, but this was refused.
A senior source said gardaí welcomed the development but warned that the "slightest thing" could reignite the situation.
With members of the opposing groups all being former associates, the level of animosity has been particularly fierce. There are no plans to reduce garda patrols in the area.
The last serious incident directly related to the feud was in January when gardaí foiled a murder attempt on an associate of Griffin's.
Two men with a loaded weapon were lying in wait in a stolen car for their intended victim to return to his home at Riverside Park in Clonshaugh, on the north side of the city, when they were intercepted by unarmed gardaí.
The feud began in October 2005 when shots were fired into Griffin's home in Swords, wounding him in the arm. Ensuing drive-by gun attacks saw Griffin's rape victim's home being shot at.
In November 2006, a hand grenade was thrown into Griffin's home and exploded.
Another grenade was then thrown into a relative's house, but failed to detonate. In December 2006, as Griffin's trial for rape approached, two men lost their lives in a fortnight.
Gerard Batt-Byrne (25) of Ferryman's Crossing, Dublin 1, was shot dead in the IFSC on 13 December. He was a rival of Griffin's.
The Emergency Response Unit (ERU) and other armed gardaí were called into the area around Sheriff Street and the IFSC to deter further attacks.
Two weeks later a gunman crept into a house on Oriel Street and shot Stephen Ledden (28) in the head as he lay on a sofa. He was shot by mistake by a killer targeting another man thought to be behind Batt-Byrne's murder.
Griffin's sentence of life imprisonment the following month did not calm the situation.
In April 2008, Anthony Russell (30), of Cromcastle Drive, Kilmore, was gunned down as he sat drinking with friends in the Ardlea Inn, Artane.
Russell was close to Griffin and was believed to have been involved in the killing of Gerard Batt-Byrne.
December 13, 2009