Gardai tried to warn gangland criminal hours before he was killed
THE gangster left with horror face injuries after being shot outside a creche has died.
Gardai have now launched a murder probe after gangland criminal Declan ‘Fat Deccy' Smith lost his fight for life last night.
The 32-year-old thug’s face was blown off in the attack outside a crèche in Donaghmede one week ago.
Smith never regained consciousness after being hit at close range with a shotgun shortly after dropping his son off at the creche at 9.15am last Friday.
Medics were said to be surprised that he managed to live as long as he did.
No arrests have been made in the case and a post-mortem was due to take place on Smith's body today.
It has emerged that gardai tried to warn the notorious dissident Republican gangster there |was a credible threat against his life just hours before a gunman shot him, but they were unable to talk to him.
It is understood officers had received intelligence an attack was imminent but did not get a chance to speak to him.
When detectives called to the house he was in, a woman answered the door, verbally abused them and told them he was not at home.
Smith, a close pal of slain real IRA chief Alan Ryan, was one of two chief suspects in |the murders of Edward Burns (36) and Joe Jones (38).
The pair, who were members of the Continuity IRA in Belfast, were killed within an hour |of each other in March 2007 following a bitter dispute that involved stolen money and missing weapons.
They were both savagely beaten before Burns was shot dead and his body dumped in the west of the city.
Jones was decapitated with a shovel and his body abandoned in an alleyway in Ardoyne, North Belfast.
After that murder, Smith was forced to flee the North, but he has continued to be embroiled in bitter criminal feuds ever since Alan Ryan took him under his wing.
Smith and Ryan previously kidnapped and tortured a |senior member of this gang |in an unsuccessful attempt to steal guns from the criminal just weeks before Ryan was |shot dead.
Sources say the gang vowed revenge for this incident, and |it has emerged that leading |members of the outfit have been looking for Smith for months.
The thug was under surveillance when they learned he had moved back to the Coolock area during recent weeks.
The Herald previously revealed that Ryan was on his way to see Smith when he was shot in Clongriffin, North Dublin, in September 2012.
Smith was present in the immediate aftermath of the assassination and stood watching as paramedics tried in vain to save Ryan's life.
Following Ryan's death, Smith attempted to take over the Real IRA's operations but ended up being kicked out of the organisation with weeks.
In January of last year, Smith was found with a gunshot wound to his leg in a housing estate in Saggart, Co Dublin, after he was targeted by his former IRA associates over a five-figure amount of cash that had been extorted before going missing.