Thursday 19 July 2018

Dig for body of man feared murdered by 'Mr Big' crime gang begins today

Missing Patrick Lawlor
Missing Patrick Lawlor

Ryan nugent

A SEARCH will begin today for the body of a man who is feared murdered by an organised crime gang led by ‘Mr Big’.

Patrick Lawlor disappeared almost 12 years ago, aged 23.

His disappearance was believed to be linked to a drugs dispute with a gang led by ‘Mr Big’, one of the largest drug traffickers in the country.

The organised crime gang are the suspects in a number of high-profile gangland murders, which include the fatal shooting of dissident republican Alan Ryan in 2012.

Lawlor was last seen leaving his home in Darndale at 6.30am on December 16, 2004.

The latest search for Lawlor’s body is taking place minutes away from his family home in Buttercup Park.

Preparations for the dig took place over the weekend, with gardai monitoring the field that is located close to the now abandoned Belcamp House – just off the R139 road in Clonshaugh.

It is believed Lawlor – who was involved in the drugs trade at a low level – may have been killed by the gang over a debt.

He was understood to have been involved in crime in order to fund his own drug addiction.

Despite temporarily getting clean from drugs when he entered a rehabilitation programme, Lawlor succumbed to his addictions once more and was subsequently hired by a drug gang to deliver cocaine.

It is suspected that Lawlor was taken to the field in Belcamp and shot in the head after he was initially summoned for a meeting with a well-known criminal near Dublin Airport on the morning he went missing.

His mother Alice has launched a whole host of campaigns in an attempt to find her son since his disappearance, but nothing has come of it as of yet.

The man’s disappearance has previously been highlighted on RTE’s Crimecall television show.

A spokeswoman for the gardai said they expect the dig, which is being led by gardai in Coolock, to last three weeks.

“It is anticipated that the search will commence today and continue up to three weeks,” she said. “The result of this search will determine the direction of the investigation.”

It is understood that preliminary searches of the derelict site by gardai confirmed that firearms were used there.

A forensic anthropologist has been brought in by gardai as part of the investigation.

While this one site is being investigated, it is anticipated that a number of other sites may also be examined.

Lawlor’s mother previously said that she knows “something dreadful has happened to him”.

“Patrick would never let a few days pass without calling us to let us know that he is safe,” she said.

“I have got this feeling that Patrick is not coming home.

“He was only 23 and had his whole life ahead of him,” she added.

Darndale priest Fr Ned Quinn told the Herald that he hopes something comes of this investigation, after so many years of campaigning from the family.

Despite not being in the parish when Lawlor went missing, Fr Quinn said he remembers arriving in Darndale seven years ago and there were missing posters of Lawlor posted everywhere in the area.

Fr Terry Murray, priest for the area at the time, even launched a campaign on behalf of the family in 2007.

“Hopefully there’ll be some sort of conclusion for the mother anyway,” Fr Quinn said.

“It would give closure to the family. Let’s pray something happens.

“You never know with these. I’ve heard before of other ones being unsuccessful.

“Sometimes it raises the hopes up for a family, so please God something might come of it,” he added.

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