Thursday 8 December 2016

Man shot six times in country lane was only released from jail two weeks ago

Cathal McMahon, Tom Brady, Laura Larkin and Ken Foy

Published 06/06/2016 | 02:30

Forensic officers at Hills Lane in Crooksling, Co Dublin, yesterday, where the body of a man was discovered Photo: Damien Eagers

A man who was shot six times in a country lane had previously been linked to an attack on the gangster 'Fat' Freddie Thompson.

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Neil Fitzgerald (35), from Dufferin Avenue, off Dublin's South Circular Road, spent several years in prison for pointing a loaded gun at three gardaí.

He was only released two weeks ago.

Fitzgerald was involved in the deadly Crumlin-Drimnagh feud, which claimed more than a dozen lives. Gardaí regarded him as a close associate of one of the feud leaders, Brian Rattigan.

A garda at Hills Lane yesterday morning Photo: Collins
A garda at Hills Lane yesterday morning Photo: Collins

He was let out of jail last month after completing a sentence imposed after he had pleaded guilty to pointing a loaded firearm at three gardaí while resisting arrest.

Yesterday evening, gardaí arrested a man and a woman, both in their mid-20s, in relation to the shooting. They were held under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act in Tallaght and Rathfarnham garda stations.

Fitzgerald was shot in the head and chest after being lured into Hills Lane at Crooksling, off the N81 between Tallaght and Blessington.

Gardaí believe the murder may be linked to a feud-related incident in which shots were fired into the home of Freddie Thompson in the south inner city in February 2008.

The gun used in the attack on Thompson's house was found in the possession of Fitzgerald when he was arrested the following July, five days after being spotted by officers at a checkpoint, speeding on the wrong side of the road.

Fitzgerald pleaded guilty to possession of a semi-automatic pistol and ammunition and producing a firearm while resisting arrest at Dolphin's Barn on July 23, 2008.

He also pleaded guilty to driving a stolen car and five counts of dangerous driving on July 18, 2008.

Bullets

However, despite the deceased's links to Fat Freddie, the murder is not thought to be linked to the Kinahan-Hutch feud that has gripped Dublin's inner city in recent months.

"There is nothing to indicate at this stage that it is connected to the recent killings in other parts of the city," said Superintendent Peter Duff of Tallaght garda station.

Fitzgerald's body was discovered by a passer-by in a rural laneway about 5km outside Tallaght yesterday morning.

It is understood that he was shot six times in both the body and the head.

Bullet casings were discovered near his body by gardaí but no weapon was found after a search of nearby fields.

A local woman in Crooksling heard "rapid fire" gunfire shortly after midnight but wrongly assumed that it was hunters in the area.

"Because we are in the country it (hunting) is not unusual," she said. "You don't expect that on your doorstep. It's dreadful, that's someone's son.

"As soon as I saw all the vans (in the morning), I knew instantly. Whoever brought him up there knew exactly where they were going, they knew that lane," she said.

"It's a very quiet area and people are shocked that this could have happened there," said one local man.

A post mortem is due to be carried out today.

Irish Independent

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