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Wednesday 21 February 2018

Dad chased and stabbed to death had survived previous attempt on his life

Gardaí remove a body from Liscarne Gardens, Clondalkin. Inset: Robert Ellis. Photo: Gerry Mooney Picture: Gerry Mooney
Gardaí remove a body from Liscarne Gardens, Clondalkin. Inset: Robert Ellis. Photo: Gerry Mooney Picture: Gerry Mooney

Robin Schiller and Conor Feehan

A father-of-one who was chased and fatally assaulted in the back garden of a west Dublin house had previously been informed of a threat on his life.

Robert Ellis (25) was murdered by a gang of up to four men at the Liscarne estate in Neilstown, Clondalkin in the early hours of yesterday.

The victim had attempted to flee into a nearby property as he was chased by his killers, but was eventually cornered and stabbed to death.

Mr Ellis had previously survived an attempt on his life when he was shot outside a property in the Grange View estate, Clondalkin.

Robert Ellis
Robert Ellis

His then pregnant partner was also wounded during the shooting in February 2015.

Gardaí are now following a number of lines of inquiry to determine if that shooting was linked to the fatal attack.

A number of groups were investigated for involvement in the shooting, including a Ballyfermot-based gang.

Sources have also said that Mr Ellis had previously been in a dispute with associates of a Clondalkin-based gang.

It is understood that gardaí informed Ellis of a threat on his life both before and after the botched shooting.

The capital's latest murder victim had 40 previous convictions which included a lengthy prison sentence after being caught with a haul of drugs as well as a violent machete attack.

He was also a close associate of criminal Lee McDonnell, who previously made headlines after escaping from a prison van and going on the run for over a month before being recaptured.

Mr Ellis had attended a bonfire in the nearby St Mark's estate before he was killed, but it is not yet known if he was involved in an argument there.

Speaking to the media, Supt Dermot Mann said that a number of men were seen fleeing over a wall of the back garden where Mr Ellis was killed.

"We believe that the young man in his 20s was followed into the garden of the house by a number of people. We have information that a number of people left the garden over the wall," Supt Mann said.

"What we are looking for is if anyone knows the direction of travel of those people.

"The Neilstown Road is a busy road, so if we could have any help from the public and the community it would be appreciated."

Supt Mann said gardaí are investigating if there was a previous assault or altercation at the bonfire before the victim left and went to the house where he was found dead.

He confirmed that the victim did not live at the house but he may have known the occupants as he was from the area.

Bloodstains could be seen on the footpath beside a green space at the end of Liscarne Gardens yesterday morning.

There was also blood in the driveway of a house at the end of the estate where the victim had tried to flee from his attackers.

Local sources say the victim banged furiously on the door of the house while he was bleeding.

A garda forensic tent was erected over his body in the back garden, and Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis carried out a preliminary examination at the scene.

Gardaí at Ronanstown are appealing for anyone who was in the general area of St Marks/Neilstowns Road/Liscarne Gardens between 1am and 3.30am yesterday to contact them at Ronanstown Garda Station on 01 - 6667700, the Garda Confidential Line 1 800 666 111 or any garda station.

Irish Independent

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