Irish News

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Gangster Zambra's death 'like episode of Love/Hate'

Five theories, from revenge to a jealous lover, for Zambra killing

Maeve Sheehan

Published 25/05/2014|02:30

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Christopher 'Git' Zambra
Christopher 'Git' Zambra

DETECTIVES have drawn up five possible theories for the murder of a high profile drug trafficker in a suburban garden earlier this month.

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Christopher 'Git' Zambra was shot dead on the May bank holiday weekend on his way to visit his sister in Drimnagh, south Dublin.

Gardai have come up with a list of suspects that could have come straight from the crime drama, Love/Hate, ranging from a jealous gangster, one of his own associates and dissident republicans avenging the murder of their leader.

Zambra, 39, played football for Ireland in his youth and harboured hopes of a singing career, even promoting his Cat Steven-inspired compositions on a website. But he was also one of the Dublin's biggest drug traffickers and a suspected murderer.

Detectives have pieced together a graphic account of his execution from eye witnesses who looked on as he was gunned down in broad daylight on a sunny bank holiday Sunday afternoon.

Christopher Zambra was followed as he drove from his home in Galtymore Road to his sister's home in nearby Cooley Road at around 2.45pm. As he pulled up outside his sister's home, his killers drove their Nissan Qashqai alongside Zambra's Audi.

The assassin leaned out the rear window and fired seven shots. Zambra fell across the passenger seat, managed to crawl out the passenger door, and staggered a short distance down the path. The shooter got out of the car and caught up with Zambra near his sister's house. While seriously wounded, witnesses saw him struggle with his assassin. But the killer threw him over a garden fence, pulled out a second gun and shot him twice.

The assassin returned to the waiting getaway car, later found burnt out. The two weapons used to murder Zambra were found in the car – a 9mm pistol and a 38mm revolver, both extensively fire damaged and devoid of prints.

Three weeks on, detectives have drawn up five main theories as to the motive behind the professional gangland hit, but they have no prime suspects, only several 'persons of interest', say garda sources.

Top of the list is the Real IRA. Detectives say dissident republicans blame an associate of Christopher Zambra's for the murder of Real IRA boss Alan Ryan two years ago.

Detectives believe Zambra's associate in drug trafficking has been in police custody in the north, so the Real IRA targeted Zambra instead.

The second theory is that Zambra was assassinated to avenge the murder of John 'Champagne' Carroll, in 2009, who was related to Dutchbased drugs godfather George Mitchell.

Although Zambra was acquitted of Carroll's murder, detectives suspected that he organised the hit in a row over money. Carroll claimed Zambra owed him money. Zambra refused to pay it. Several of Mitchell's Holland-based associates were in Dublin on the weekend of Zambra's killing for a funeral, say gardai.

The third theory is that Tallaght's biggest drug trafficker ordered the hit on Zambra: the two had been engaged in an ongoing turf war.

The fourth theory involves a jealous love rival. Detectives believe Zambra was involved with the ex-girlfriend of a gangster currently in jail, who has taken contracts out on her previous boyfriends and detectives say they can't rule out that he was behind the assassination of Zambra.

The fifth is that Zambra was murdered by his own close associate, the same man who is also suspected of organising the murder of Alan Ryan.

Zambra was targeted in a major operation by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) which targeted his home and numerous bank accounts. Zambra was one of "the big players", said a CAB source.

He was the owner of €1m seized by drugs police in a hotel room in Paris in 2007.

Recently, CAB officers were preparing to issue a judgment against him for several hundred thousand euro. Some of that cash belonged to his associate who wanted his money, but Zambra couldn't pay it.

Sunday Independent

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