Innocent victim killed after row at party
A GOOD Samaritan was stabbed to death with a bread knife after going to the aid of a friend who had been threatened by noisy partygoers.
Former soldier Warren O'Connor (24) had a long-bladed bread knife embedded in his chest before crumpling to the ground in Donaghmede, north Dublin.
His murder was one of five over 10 days in Dublin -- three of which were gangland slayings.
Less than 24 hours later small-time criminal and father-of-one Noel Deans (27) was shot in the head and upper chest as he made his way to his partner's home in Coolock and was pronounced dead shortly after being taken to hospital.
The two deaths follow three gangland-related murders last Thursday and Sunday week -- marking a bloody start to the new year.
Three of the killings have taken place in the Coolock garda district. Last week, heavily armed members of the Emergency Response Unit began patrolling and setting up checkpoints in the area.
Neighbours and friends were shocked by the savage stabbing of Warren O'Connor, who had been a member of the Defence Forces for three years and had been planning a new career.
Mr O'Connor, from Ferrycarrig Green in Coolock, was described yesterday by his soccer club manager as an easy-going lad and gifted footballer, who "had everything to live for".
His father Frank said the family was in shock. "We can't get our heads around it. He did not deserve to die like this."
In contrast, Noel Deans had led a troubled life with 19 criminal convictions from the age of 14. He had spent only a year- and-a-half out of jail between the ages of 14 and 21, was a drug addict and had psychiatric problems.
Gardai were last night trying to establish if his murder was linked to his drug addiction.
The death of former soldier Mr O'Connor was linked to a row among neighbours in The Beech apartment building at the Grattan Wood complex in Donaghmede, north Dublin.
A friend of Mr O'Connor, who lived in the complex, became annoyed over loud parties in an upstairs apartment.
When the noise levels rose again shortly after midnight on Saturday he called to the apartment to complain but the party apparently continued.
The man then contacted Mr O'Connor and other friends as he felt concerned about his safety.
Meanwhile the party upstairs continued even though at one stage fuses were removed from the fusebox in the complex.
A row then broke out and spilled over into the complex car park and then onto the road.
Some of those who had been involved in the argument, including Mr O'Connor, left the scene in two cars, a black Honda Civic and a silver Ford Focus.
The cars collided a short distance away at Hole in the Wall Road in Donaghmede and Mr O'Connor was stabbed in the chest with the long-bladed kitchen knife.
The Focus car was later recovered in Coolock, while the Civic remained at the scene.
Forensic tests are now being carried out on the weapon in a bid to identify the killer.
Gardai said last night they had also interviewed many witnesses and were piecing together what had taken place in the minutes before the stabbing.
Some 40 gardai from the Coolock district and the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation took part in a case conference at the weekend while a further 20 gardai also joined the investigation -- including members of the Technical Bureau, who examined the murder scene and other key areas.
Some of the senior officers involved in the O'Connor case were also linked into the Deans inquiries, which were being directed from Clontarf station.
Mr Deans had spent part of Saturday night socialising with friends at the Priorswood Inn in Coolock and left the pub alone shortly after 10pm to walk to his partner's house on Macroom Road.
He had turned off Ferrycarrig Road into a cul-de-sac, which led to a laneway into Macroom Road, when he was confronted by his killer, who shot him a couple of times in the head and upper chest.
Mr Deans, who had an address at Greenwood Lawn in Coolock, was originally from Darndale.
A post-mortem examination took place last night.
Gardai have appealed to anybody who was in the area around 10.20pm on Saturday to contact their incident room at Clontarf station, on 01 6664832, or the confidential line, 1800 666111.