Sunday 26 January 2020

'Panicked' gang may have left vital DNA clue in cars after double murder

Machine gun clip was emptied in double murder of mother-of-six and locksmith

Gardai at scene of shooting that claimed the lives of innocent mum Antoinette Corbally and locksmith Clinton Shannon
Gardai at scene of shooting that claimed the lives of innocent mum Antoinette Corbally and locksmith Clinton Shannon
Robin Schiller

Robin Schiller

Detectives are confident that the getaway cars and firearms used in a brutal double gangland murder in north Dublin last week contained vital forensic evidence which will help identify the killers.

The indiscriminate shooting left two people dead and a further two with gunshot injuries at Balbutcher Drive, Ballymun, last Wednesday afternoon. All of the casualties were innocent and not involved in criminality.

Antoinette Corbally
Antoinette Corbally

The hit team responsible for the murders of mother-of-six Antoinette Corbally (48) and locksmith Clinton Shannon (30) made what gardai believe could prove a "costly mistake" during their getaway.

The two vehicles used in the gun attack - a silver 08-LS Opel Safira and a black 06-LS VW Golf GTI - were only partially burnt out as the killers panicked in their escape.

A subsequent search of these cars also led to the recovery of the firearms used in the killings, an automatic 9mm sub machine gun and a semi-automatic handgun.

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Sources said that the weapons still appeared to be in good condition, and may yield significant DNA evidence in the hunt for the killers.

"They panicked setting the cars alight, and in the process failed to fully burn out four vital pieces of evidence in the shooting - the vehicles and the firearms," a senior source said.

Clinton Shannon
Clinton Shannon

"They are now being forensically examined by the garda Technical Bureau and the Ballistic Sections, and detectives are very confident that they will recover DNA evidence to help identify the gunmen."

Extra armed units will also patrol the north Dublin suburb indefinitely following fears that a local feud, which was seen as the motive for the killings, could lead to more violence.

The warring factions, whose core members are based in separate areas of Ballymun, have been responsible for a wave of non-fatal shootings, arson and pipe-bomb attacks.

However, the first fatalities were tragically claimed this week when mother-of-six Antoinette Corbally and tradesman Clinton Shannon were caught up in the crossfire of the feuding crime groupings.

Additional teams from the garda Armed Support Unit (ASU), set up last December following the outbreak of the Hutch-Kinahan feud, are now patrolling the Ballymun area on a 24/7 basis in a measure to thwart further attacks. Gardai and the community alike believed that the situation was on a knife-edge.

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In a media appeal last Friday, senior investigators asked for anyone who had information in relation to future violence to contact gardai.

"If people have additional information suggesting there is any intention to commit more violence, we would ask them to come forward," said Chief Supt Lorraine Wheatley, who is overseeing the double murder investigation.

The country's latest gangland killings were carried out shortly before 4pm last Wednesday.

As the hit team, two men wearing balaclavas, approached the gated home on Balbutcher Drive the intended target - convicted criminal Derek 'Bottler' Devoy (37) - was standing in the doorway, holding a toddler.

Realising that his life was in danger, Devoy dropped the child to the ground and ran through the house, escaping over a back wall.

In that time, the men who arrived to kill 'Bottler' Devoy had instead murdered two innocent people and injured two more bystanders.

One hit man armed with a fully automatic 9mm sub-machine gun emptied the weapon's clip as bullets sprayed across the front door and into the house.

Standing in the hallway was Antoinette Corbally - sister to the intended target - who was hit by some ten bullets across her body. She died almost instantly.

Also hit in the crossfire were Andrea Corbally (18), the daughter of Antoinette, as well as innocent bystander Brian Moran (52). Andrea Corbally suffered a graze to her head from a stray bullet, while Brian Moran was hit in the leg.

The two injured victims were brought to the Mater Hospital, where they were treated for their injuries.

Throughout the chaos, as one masked hit man sprayed bullets at the property, the second gunman pointed his weapon at locksmith Clinton Shannon (30).

He was not involved in criminality and sources described him as a "completely innocent man". He was a friend of the intended target and had driven 'Bottler' to the property moments before the double murder. He was sitting in his car when he was shot up to ten times and struck in the chest, neck and head.

One local tried in vain to resuscitate Mr Shannon.

"I don't know who it was but some chap was begging me to keep him going until the ambulance came," the woman later recalled.

"I told him 'I'll do my best' and I kept doing the CPR. The guard came down and I just got towels and pressed on him."

Mr Shannon was pronounced dead a short time later.

As they made their getaway, the hit team attempted but failed to set fire to the silver 08-LS Opel Safira they arrived in. They then ran down a pair of steps, which led to Cranogue Terrace, before fleeing in a 06-LH black VW Golf GTI. This vehicle was later recovered partially burnt out in Santry Close.

A full murder investigation is being led by officers at Ballymun garda station, with more than 300 lines of inquiry being investigated in the first two days alone.

One line of inquiry was that the shooting was the result of an 18-month long drug dispute between two gangs.

Sunday Independent

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