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Monday 16 December 2019

Gardai probing theory woman ordered Spanish hit on gangster

Ken Foy and Gerard Couzens

DETECTIVES are investigating whether a female associate of a Dublin gangster ordered the hit on an Irishman living in Spain in a dispute over money.

Gerard 'Hatchet' Kavanagh (44) died after being struck with nine bullets at Harmon's Irish Bar in Elviria, a 20-minute drive east of Marbella, in Spain on Saturday.

Forensic morturary staff recover the body of Gerard Kavanagh. Photo:
A bullet hole left in a nearby car after a number of shots from a machine pistol missed their target. SOLARPIX
Gerard Kavanagh on right

Investigating officers are exploring the theory that a close female associate of gangster Christopher 'Git' Russell may have ordered the hit, after her car was vandalised as part of an ongoing tit-for-tat dispute over money.

A well-known criminal, who is a friend of Kavanagh, was over the weekend checking pubs in Crumlin to try and find the woman.

Another theory on the motive for the murder is that a contract may have been taken out on Kavanagh's life by a Russian gang in a disagreement over a drugs shipment.

Kavanagh was a member of the notorious organised crime gang run by Christy Kinahan, which is involved in drug debt collection and international drug dealing.

Kinahan's gang has been in a long running dispute with Russell, who they claim owes a drug debt thought to be around €1.5m.

A number of attacks have occurred in locations in Drimnagh, Dublin, as part of the simmering dispute.

Gardai have been placed on high alert about the possibility of retaliation for the hit.

In July the High Court ruled that 'Git' Russell's house was acquired mostly with the proceeds of crime.

Police investigating the murder believe it was meticulously planned by professional killers, who may have travelled from Ireland to carry out the hit.

Police are working through the numbers on his mobile phone before his death to establish if he was lured to his death.

Two masked gunmen burst into Harmon's Irish Bar just before 4pm Irish time on Saturday. The assassins opened fire on Kavanagh with a machine pistol while he tried to flee.

Well-known Irish criminal shot dead in Costa del Sol bar by masked gunmen

When he fell to the floor, one of the gunmen fired a bullet into his head, then rolled him over and checked to make sure he was dead.

Witnesses have told police one of the two assassins, dressed from head to toe in black, stood over Kavanagh and fired a "make-sure" last shot to his temple as he lay dead or dying.

The pair made their getaway in a BMW they had left with the engine running near the bar.

A vehicle matching its description was found burnt out shortly afterwards near a supermarket 5km away on the road to Marbella. Forensic specialists were examining the vehicle yesterday as detectives from a specialist anti-drug and organised crime unit continued to hunt for the killers.

A source close to the investigation said: "It was a professional hit and has all the hallmarks of a pre-planned killing.

"Officers involved in the inquiry are working on the theory his killers knew where their victim would be because he was at the bar by appointment.

"He was shot nine times in the left arm, back and head but the killers fired other shots that missed their target."

Police have already seized CCTV footage from local businesses and are going over it for clues to the assassins' identity.

They also took away the black Audi that Kavanagh arrived at the pub in.

Harmon's remained closed and no-one from the bar was available for comment.

Police chalk marks, circling the spots where spent cartridges had fallen, were still visible inches from tables where diners were enjoying terrace meals during a quiet time in the bar.

Irish ex-pat owner Dave Harmon and his British wife Teresa were not at the bar when Kavanagh was shot dead.

Irish Independent

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