Several serious players in organised crime and drugs trade were involved in the feud
The murder of Jordan Davis, who was shot dead three years ago while wheeling his baby son in a pram outside a primary school, was interlinked with four other murders over a bloody 11-month period in Dublin.
This week saw the first murder conviction linked to the feuding, when Wayne Cooney was yesterday handed a life sentence for Davis’s murder.
At its height three years ago, the feud involved dozens of people taking part in fatal shootings, murder plots and the firebombing of homes.
At least three planned hits were foiled, while gardaí had intelligence about attempts to buy grenades and veteran criminals taking part in crime summits linked to the dispute.
The first killing took place in January 2019 when Zach Parker (22) was shot dead outside a gym in Swords.
A barber by trade, he was also among a group of young drug dealers making significant profits before his death, which was linked to a local drugs dispute.
The following May, three men were murdered within a week in connected circumstances.
Sean Little (22), a close friend of Parker, was lured to a secluded laneway in Walshestown, north Dublin, before being shot dead.
Less than 20 hours later, Little’s friend Jordan Davis (22) was targeted as he wheeled a pram with his four-month-old son in it through a laneway in Darndale.
A jury this week found Tallaght man Wayne Cooney was the gunman who fired eight shots at Davis, killing him instantly.
Although the murders were both linked to the north Dublin drugs trade, sources suggested they were carried out by different groupings.
A Coolock drug dealer, referred to in court as CD for legal reasons, is suspected of ordering the Davis murder over a €70,000 drug debt.
The volatile criminal was later linked to a spate of other shootings, assassination att- empts and a murder.
Detectives investigating Little’s murder believe he had been set up by his own associates, and garda intelligence linked him to a west Dublin gang led by ‘Mr Flashy’.
One of the men blamed for involvement in Little’s murder was an Iranian asylum-seeker, Hamid Sanambar (41), also a close associate of the same gang.
Within a week of Little’s murder, Sanambar was shot dead outside Little’s home as he arrived to pay his respects to the family.
Associates of Little are suspected of direct involvement in Sanambar’s murder and, while it was the first revenge hit, it would not be the last.
Over the following months, gardaí foiled several shootings believed to have been planned to avenge the Little murder.
Intelligence also indicated serious players within organised crime were becoming involved in the feud.
One source said a number of crime summits was believed to have taken place in north Dublin in July 2019, involving paedophile mob boss Christy Griffin, and criminals from the Coolock area linked to Little’s associates.
The feud had also spread to Ballymun, where a number of drug dealers were targeted after taking over Little’s patch.
Local gardaí even received reports that one criminal was trying to get his hands on grenades to be used in the dispute.
Following the spate of murders, the Garda’s anti-gangland unit also became involved in an attempt to prevent more killings.
A successful operation was carried out that July when members of the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB) seized two loaded guns that were to be used in a murder.
One of those arrested was the volatile CD, who had taken a more hands-on role in the feud.
Another person suspected of directed involvement in the Little murder was Caolan Smyth (30), a hitman originally from north Dublin.
In one of the more bizarre aspects of the feud, he travelled to England and took a lie detector test to prove his innocence.
His efforts were in vain, and that September a hit on him was organised.
However, the attempt on his life was foiled just metres from Smyth’s Artane home when gardaí intercepted would-be gunman Edward McDonnell.
Sean Little’s father, Stephen, was also arrested near the scene.
He later told gardaí: “Had you given me another hour I would have killed the bastard that killed him. I lost my marriage and my son.”
Both men were later jailed for firearms offences.
While Smyth was never charged over the death of Sean Little, he has since been sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment for the attempted murder of James ‘Mago’ Gately linked to the separate Hutch-Kinahan feud.
Despite the setback following the arrests, local criminals continued their efforts to target anyone suspected of involvement in the Little killing or those who made gains from his death.
One planned attack was foiled after gardaí seized a loaded gun in a car.
In the case of Clonshaugh drug dealer Eoin ‘Fishy’ Boylan (22), he was shot dead for comments he made on social media about the murder.
Boylan, who knew his life was under threat, was receiving protection from local criminals, but a gunman still shot him outside his home that November.
Following a number of successful operations, the feuding has largely ceased in recent years, with investigations into the five murders continuing.
Cooney (31), of Glenshane Drive, Tallaght, this week became the first person convicted in relation to the fatal shootings, receiving the mandatory life sentence for murder.
Mr Justice Tony Hunt said Cooney is “obviously an extremely dangerous individual” who should not be considered for release until that danger is negated “long in the future”.
He noted that Cooney had fired eight shots, striking Davis three times, and was “astonishingly reckless” considering Davis was pushing his baby in a pram while another child happened to be cycling through the lane when Cooney opened fire.
The judge also commented that the murder served as a “sad lesson” on the dangers of becoming involved in drug-related criminality.
Although Davis was involved in crime, Mr Justice Hunt said he should have been dealt with by the police and courts and “not barbarians running around brandishing semi-automatic pistols and discharging them in the vicinity of innocent men, women and children”.
He said Davis had a right to life, and his family and society have the right to a “proper investigation and prosecution of this monstrous outrage”.
Davis’s mother, Sandra Davis, described her son as a “gentle giant” and said their “hearts are broken” without him.
Ms Davis said the family would always talk about him to ensure his young son “will always know how great you were”.
“You were a great dad right up to the day you were taken from us in such a cruel way. He is like you in so many ways but has been robbed of your love,” she said. “We were all robbed of your love.”
She added that ‘Jordo’ loved big hugs and would always kiss her on the cheek when he saw her.
“You had a smile that would light up a room and your life ended too soon,” she said.
After sentencing, Mr Justice Hunt also paid tribute to the gardaí involved for their “laborious and painstaking” work in finding and prosecuting Cooney.