Tuesday 12 December 2017

'Guinea Pig' killers may have failed in earlier hit

Mark Desmond (left), a car burned out near the scene of the shooting and, bottom right, gardai cover a body at the scene. Photos: Dave Conachy, Arthur Carron
Mark Desmond (left), a car burned out near the scene of the shooting and, bottom right, gardai cover a body at the scene. Photos: Dave Conachy, Arthur Carron

Ken Foy

Gardaí are probing whether gangland criminal Mark Desmond was murdered in a revenge shooting by a gang who previously carried out a botched attempt on his life.

Desmond (41), who was known as the 'Guinea Pig', was killed in Griffeen Valley Park, Lucan, last Friday evening.

He was shot up to four times in the head before the hit team fled the scene in a Mazda vehicle.

The car was later discovered burnt out in nearby Hayden's Lane. A firearm was found in the vehicle's charred remains.

A forensic officer removes a gun from close to the scene of a fatal shooting in Griffeen Valley Park, Dublin Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
A forensic officer removes a gun from close to the scene of a fatal shooting in Griffeen Valley Park, Dublin Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

A second gun was discovered nearby. Both weapons are now being forensically examined to determine if they were used in the murder.

The suspect list for the capital's latest gangland killing is expected to be extensive due to Desmond's association with a number of groups during his 20-year involvement in organised criminality.

A primary focus of detectives' inquiries is whether a gang who attempted to murder Desmond in 2010 was behind last week's fatal shooting.

During that incident in April 2010, three men approached Desmond as he drove a quad bike in the Memorial Park, Ballyfermot.

Desmond noticed the group and fled the scene when at least one shot was fired.

Although this incident was never reported to gardaí, detectives identified the three men allegedly involved in the botched hit.

They included a notorious criminal from the Ballyfermot area who is now aged in his 30s, as well as a close associate of one of Mark Desmond's alleged victims.

Desmond was suspected of being involved in at least four murders, as well as multiple beatings and sexual assaults, including the rape of a 15-year-old boy.

Shot dead: Mark Desmond Picture: Courtpix
Shot dead: Mark Desmond Picture: Courtpix

He was charged but never convicted of the infamous Canal Murders in 2000.

It is believed that Desmond lured Darren Carey (20) and Patrick Murray (19) to a meeting before murdering the two men.

Their bodies were then dumped into the Grand Canal, and were eventually discovered between January 9 and 10, 2000.

Gardaí believe that Desmond was in the Lucan area last week to meet with two brothers who were involved in drug distribution in west Dublin. The two men were understood to have links to an organised crime gang based in Co Sligo.

Detectives believe that Desmond had been associating with the brothers since at least January of this year, when they attended a crime summit at a Lucan pub.

It is understood the 'Guinea Pig' was chased from Griffeen Park, before being shot four times in the head.

The investigation is being led by officers from Lucan Garda Station, but no arrests have yet been made.

Irish Independent

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