Enemies 'were queueing up' to kill gun-for-hire gangster Byrne
THEY were queueing up to kill Dublin's latest gangland victim, Aidan Byrne, according to street intelligence gathered by gardai.
But, undeterred by the threats against his life, Byrne had also agreed to act as a gun for hire on behalf of major gang bosses.
The sordid life of the father of one, who was lured to his death, was revealed yesterday as gardai stepped up the hunt for his killer, who made off on foot after shooting him 10 times in the chest, stomach and upper body as he sat in the passenger seat of a parked car on the northside of Dublin city.
Byrne (33) was aligned with one of the factions involved in the deadly north-inner-city feud, which had already claimed four lives. This feud was ignited after groups took sides when gang leader Christy Griffin was charged with the rape a young girl.
Gardai believe the feud connection is the most likely motive for the cold-blooded murder on Saturday night.
But they are also looking at a number of other possible theories. Byrne's most high profile "contract" was to carry out the murder of a notorious gang boss in Finglas and he was arrested along with another suspect after he was spotted with a firearm near his target's house last year.
According to intelligence, a "contract" was then put on his head and taken up by another criminal.
Although he was said to have agreed to carry out a number of shootings for money, gardai have no convincing evidence that he ever followed through.
But his behaviour as a hardened thug resulted in an accumulation of enemies and persistent underworld tip-offs led to gardai warning Byrne several times in the past couple of years that there was a "price" on his head and advised him to take security precautions.
Last year he survived an attack on his life at Fairview Park on the northside of the city when shots were fired at him.
He was in trouble again earlier this month in Cloverhill Prison, where he was on remand after being charged in connection with the theft of a large haul of electrical goods.
He was slashed on the side of the face by another inmate and had to receive 60 stitches. That attack was thought to have been linked to a five-year jail sentence he had served previously for raping two prostitutes in a brothel.
In the past fortnight he had successfully applied for bail and on his release had been regularly wearing a bullet-proof vest.
But he had decided to dispense with it on Saturday night after he arranged to meet an unknown associate to discuss a business deal.
He contacted a friend, who agreed to drive him to the meeting and parked the grey Toyota Corolla car at Drumalee Avenue, off the North Circular Road, shortly after 8.30pm on Saturday.
His friend jumped out of the car and walked into a nearby house. The gunman had apparently been lying in wait and ran towards the Corolla, where Byrne was sitting in the front passenger seat.
He fired 10 shots from a semi- automatic pistol and then ran off down a laneway, either into Drumalee Park or Aughrim Street.
Detectives arrested the driver of the car for questioning on Sunday afternoon and he was taken into custody at the Bridewell garda station.
He was still being held there last night under the Criminal Justice Act 2007 and can be held without charge for a maximum of seven days.