Gangland-style murder of dad may be linked to earlier shooting
The murder of popular van driver David D'Arcy, who was cornered in his driveway as he was about to leave home for work, may be linked to a shooting two months ago.
Gardai were today checking out the background of the father of two and sifting through his past for clues in a bid to find a motive for the shooting that has shocked his local community in west Dublin.
The clinically executed murder suggested it was a gangland-style hit.
But Mr D'Arcy (39) had no known links to crime gangs or any of their associates. He was hailed last night as a hard working family man, who kept a low profile but was a good neighbour.
Gardai said they were examining similarities with the shooting of Frank Nolan (48), who was hit three times in the chest with a handgun as he walked out of a premises on to Oranmore Road in Ballyfermot two months ago.
Mr Nolan, who had been jailed by the Special Criminal Court 11 years ago in connection with an incident in which a man had been shot in a Ballyfermot pub in 1998, survived the attack in September after a bullet narrowly missed his heart and passed through his body. But he was seriously injured.
Senior officers said it was one of a number of inquiries being pursued at this early stage of the investigation but they were looking at possible connections between yesterday's murder and the recent Nolan shooting in the same area.
Officers acknowledged that Mr D'Arcy did not have any criminal history and they had no intelligence linking him with any groups.
His partner for the past two decades, Amanda Haverty, and their 15-year-old daughter, Janice, lay asleep in their home at Cherry Orchard Avenue in Ballyfermot as he was confronted by a gunman.
He was shot three times, the fatal bullet hitting him under the chin and entering his head. The other shots struck him in the upper body.
His son David junior (18) lives with his grandparents.
Gardai said the two killers appeared to have carefully planned the shooting, which reduced the possibility that Mr D'Arcy was a victim of mistaken identity.
Mr D'Arcy had a regular routine, leaving his home each morning at around 6.50am in a white van, owned by his employers, Tom Whelan Meat Products, of Ballymount industrial estate, as he set out to collect deliveries for his customers from the local butcher's shop.
But yesterday morning as he was about to reverse out of the driveway, two men in a dark blue Opel Astra car blocked his exit.
A man, armed with a handgun, jumped out and fired the three shots into the passenger window, hitting Mr D'Arcy as he sat behind the wheel.
He slumped forward as the Astra sped off. It was found burnt out shortly afterwards in nearby Inagh Road in Ballyfermot.
Mr D'Arcy's family was awoken by the shooting and the emergency services were called.
Gardai, who were quickly on the scene, tried to resuscitate him and further attempts were made by an ambulance crew but they were unsuccessful.
The Opel Astra, with a registration plate 99 CE 3047, had been stolen on November 23 in Limerick and last night gardai appealed to anyone with information about its movements in the past five days to contact them.
Meanwhile, detectives were trying to find any incidents where Mr D'Arcy might have fallen foul of a crime gang in the past. Gardai said there was no evidence to suggest a link between the murder and an investigation 11 years ago into an allegation of assault on a woman.
Mr D'Arcy was interviewed as a result of a complaint but gardai found nothing to substantiate the allegation and he was not charged.
Last night, Supt John Quirke appealed to anyone who was in the Cherry Orchard Avenue or Inagh Road areas between 6.30am and 7.15am and might have spotted unusual activity or noticed the Opel Astra, to contact the investigation headquarters at Ballyfermot station, on 01 6667200, or the confidential phone line, 1800 666111.