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Chief suspect in Drogheda torso case shot dead

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Ardoyne: Police officers at the scene of yesterday's shooting. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Ardoyne: Police officers at the scene of yesterday's shooting. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

PA

Ardoyne: Police officers at the scene of yesterday's shooting. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

The Dublin criminal who is the chief suspect for the murder and dismemberment of a teenager in Drogheda last month has been shot dead in Belfast.

Robbie Lawlor (35) was shot several times at close range on Etna Drive in Ardoyne at around 11.50am yesterday. He stumbled and collapsed in the front garden of a house. A local man jumped the wall to come to his aid but later told officers that the victim was covered in blood and not breathing.

Early reports were that the criminal had travelled to Belfast with others to carry out a "hit" in the city. Three men have been arrested in connection with the shooting.

Police have confirmed the victim was dead at the scene.

Lawlor is suspected of being involved in at least two gangland murders before the brutal killing of 17-year-old Keane Mulready Woods.

Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy said: "This was a brutal killing and I believe the man was shot a number of times at close range. I am astounded by the recklessness of the killer or killers. Not only did they carry out this callous murder leaving a family experiencing their worst nightmare, but they did not care that children and other members of this community were placed at risk.

"Murder is a heinous crime and killing someone during this global coronavirus pandemic is sickening when people are trying to adjust to living a new way and trying to cope with the pressures this brings.

"Those involved in this murder selfishly gave no thought to the impact on front-line emergency services who are already working hard to keep people safe with an already stretched resource.

"I have now launched a murder investigation and am following a number of lines of enquiry in respect of the investigation."

A light-coloured car was found burned out nearby. Police are seeking to establish the relevancy of the car to the investigation.

Lawlor had been linked to a string of violent crimes and most recently was the prime suspect for ordering the savage murder of Keane Mulready Woods in January.

Mulready Woods was reported missing by his family when he failed to return home. The following day a local man found a sports bag containing legs and a pair of flip flops in Coolock. It had been thrown from a dark coloured car. Two days later gardai were called to the scene of a burning car in Drumcondra - and when they got there they found a head and hands in the boot.

The teenager's torso remains missing.

Sunday Independent