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Gun crime: Gardai press charges in only three out of 13 killings this year


 Det Adrian Donohoe: victim

Det Adrian Donohoe: victim

Gintaras Zelvys

Gintaras Zelvys

Patricia Kierans

Patricia Kierans


Det Adrian Donohoe: victim

Gardai have managed to press charges in just three of the 13 gun killings that have happened in Ireland this year.

Today we profile these cases and outline the latest in the detailed investigations into these savage crimes.

Our investigation reveals that 12 of the 13 gun murders so far in 2013 have happened in the province of Leinster with one in Louth, one in Carlow, one in Kildare, one in Meath, one in Wicklow and the rest in Dublin.

The only exception to Leinster was a fatal shooting in Co Cavan in September.

Within Dublin, the locations of the fatal shootings have been Cabra, Inchicore, Rathcoole, Clondalkin and Tallaght.

Two of the gun attacks happened in both Clondalkin and Tallaght amking south west Dublin the deadliest location for gangalnd activity this year.

At least three of the shocking slayings happened in daylight hours and three of this year's gun victims can be classified as innocent victims.

The total amount of people shot dead last year was 16 which means that this year is shaping up to be an even bloodier year.


Click on the map to see details of the killings



(1) The first gun murder of the year was that of criminal Philip 'Philly' O' Toole (33) who vanished from his home on January 7. His body was found at Trooperstown Wood near, Rathdrum Co Wicklow, 18 days later after gardai received a tip-off.

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O' Toole was a major criminal from Bray, Co Wicklow, who had previous convictions for fireams and drug offences.

There has been one arrest so far in the case and gardai have been working on the theory that he was set-up by a criminal who he thought he could trust. There have been no charges.

The chief suspect for organising the shotgun murder has not been arrested - he is a dangerous Co Wicklow criminal who has come to the fore over the past year.

O' Toole knew his life was in danger and he previously survived a gun attack in August, 2011.

(2) The next gun murder of the year was probably the most shocking of them all and it occurred on the night of January 25 when Detective Adrian Donohoe (41) was gunned down by a cross-border armed robbery gang at the Lordship Credit union in Co Louth.

It was the first time in 17 years that a serving garda was shot dead on duty in this State.

Despite a massive manhunt, no-one has been directly arrested in relation to the shotgun murder and most of the suspected members of the gang involved in the brutal murder have fled abroad including to the United States.

Dozens of searches targeting the gang involved have happened in north Louth and south Armagh but so far gardai have not been able to get enough evidence to charge anyone in the case.

The investigation has been one of the biggest in the history of the State with 150 officers involved and numerous public appeals.

(3) Gardai are satisfied that mother-of-six Deirdre Keenan (51) was blasted with a shotgun by her boyfriend John Deegan (53) in a Carlow town B&B on February 25.

Deegan - who was suffering from depression then turned the gun on himself.

Ms Keenan from Naas, Co Kildare died a single blast from the farmer's legally held shotgun at the Stonehaven B&B at Centaur Street in Carlow.

Even though there will never be any charges in the case, it is classified as detected by gardai.

(4) The fourth gun murder of the year happened in a crowded pub in Cabra, north Dublin, on the evening of March 3 when drug dealer Paul Cullen (26) received fatal shotgun wounds to the head.

There have been no arrests or charges in this case but gardai quickly identified the Finglas gang who were responsible for it and the hitman is also suspected of shooting another man in Tallaght less than four months later.

Cullen was shot three times in the head and three times in the body in front of his traumatised father who is confined to a wheelchair in the Cabra.

The gunman ran out of the bar before fleeing on a getaway bike which was driven by a man who stood outside the pub when the shooting happened.

Sources say that Paul Cullen knew his life was under “serious danger” ever since he became involved ina dangerous dispute with a notorious local crime gang.

(5) There have been charges in relation to the handgun murder of former IRA boss Peter Butterly (35) who was shot dead in the car park of the Huntsman Inn at Gormanston, Co Meath on March 6 last.

Edward Mc Grath (32), of Land Dale Lawns, Springfield, Tallaght, Dean Evans (22), of Grange Park Rise, Raheny, David Cullen (29), of Brackenwood Ave, Balbriggan and Sharif Kelly (43) of Pinewood Green Road, Balbriggan, were all charged with the murder earlier this month at the Special Criminal Court.

(6) And gardai have also managed to press a murder charge in the case of Finglas criminal Jamie Linday (20) who was killed with a shotgun in Athy, Co Kildare, on the night of April 6.

Darren Wynne, (19) from Ballyroe in Athy, Co Kildare, was charged at Naas District Court nine days after dad-of-one Lindsay was shot dead in the Coneyboro Estate, Athy.

(7) Gardai believe that they have identified the mob who were involved in the gruesome gun murder of Lithuanian gangster Gintaras Zelvys (41) at the Greenogue industrial estate in Rathcoole, west Dublin on May 1.

There have been no charges in the case but three criminals from Blanchardstown, west Dublin, who officers believe were centrally involved in the shotgun murder were arrested less than a fortnight after the shooting.

Convicted rapist Zelvys was shot several times in the chest by a masked man armed with a sawn-off shotgun in front of his wife.

The chief suspects for the murder were formerly linked to Dublin's notorious Westies' gang and one of them is a taxi driver.

Another of the suspect's previously survived a horror park attack by Real IRA thugs.

A file on the trio has been sent to the DPP and gardai are confident of charges because of the good quality CCTV they have secured in the case.

(8) Gardai have still not established exactly when Tallaght criminal Alan Desmond (38) was shot dead but officers are certain that it was a number of weeks before his body was found at Killinarden Hill in Tallaght on May 18.

Shockingly the body was discovered by children playing in the area almost two weeks earlier but the kids had thought it was a dummy at first.

Desmond had not been seen for over three weeks before that and gardai were looking for him after they raided his home in the Kilclare area of Tallaght and seized three high spec rifles with telescopic sights, a handgun loaded with six bullets, an unloaded hand revolver, two sawn-off shotguns and 60 shotgun cartridges

The weapons had been stolen in burglaries at various locations around the country and the seizure may be linked to Desmond's murder.

(9) A person of major interest in the investigation was Karl Wynne (45) who gardai believe worked for Desmond.

However Wynne was never arrested and will never be charged with Desmond's murder after he died from catastrophic injuries he received when he was shot after being lured to a meeting in Tallaght on the night of May 30.

Wynne had only been released from garda custody a week where he had been questioned for five days for the botched assassination attempt on bodybuilder Sean Enright in Cabra in early May when the fitness fanatic was shot a number of times in the head and body.

Wynne died in Tallaght Hospital on July 19 where he had been on life support since been shot.

Wynne was targeted by a gunman at the junction of St Dominic's Road and Mountain Park Road in Tallaght who escaped the scene on a motorbike before fleeing to the northside of the city.

Gardai have been working on the theory that Wynne was shot by the same Finglas gang who were also responsible for the gun murder of drug dealer Paul Cullen in a Cabra pub last February.

While there have been no arrests in the Wynne murder case, The Herald previously revealed that detectives have raided the homes of the three Finglas criminals they believe organised and carried out the shooting.

(10) In a completely separate investigation, four people have been arrested in relation to the handgun murder of small time drug dealer Michael Kelly (27) who was shot dead in Inchicore on the morning of July 15.

But there have not yet been any charges in the case in which the dad-of three, from St Teresa's Gardens, died after he was blasted three times and one of the shots hit his chest.

The attack happened close to the Luas Red Line, near the Grand Canal at Davitt Road in Dublin's south inner city.

Sources say that Kelly was “most likely” shot dead over a drugs debt but he may also have been targeted by a rival gang for dealing on their patch.

He had previously been the victim of a savage pub assault by rival mobsters because of his drug dealing activities.

(11) Small time criminal Dean Johnson (21) was shot dead in a case of mistaken identity as he walked on Neilstown Road, Clondalkin, at 12.20am on August 24.

Johnson who was not considered a gangland figure had been involved in a vicious row in Tallaght less than 24 hours before he was shot dead but this is not thought to be a motive for his murder.

Detectives have been working on the theory that the intended target of the shooting was a notorious criminal who had been socialising with Johnson earlier on the night of the murder.

There have been no charges so far in this investigation but gardai carried out 14 searches and recovered a shotgun and cocaine as part of a sweep on suspects linked to the crime. This week, a 27-year-old man was arrested in connection with the investigation

(12) Just six days later on the night of August 29, gangster Jason Carroll (39) was fatally injured in a gun attack outside his home at Cherrywood Drive, Clondalkin.

Senior sources said that Carroll's murder was linked to Johnson's murder less than a week earlier and the chief suspect for organising Carroll's murder was the intended target of the earlier shooting.

Associates of Carroll were suspected of organising the earlier murder and Carroll was shot dead in a revenge attack.

Carroll was involved with the Christy Kinahan international drugs network and his murder led to fears of a bloody new feud in west Dublin.

(13) Charges have been pressed in the case of a 56-year-old man who is accused of murdering his estranged wife in their former home in Bailieborough, Co Cavan on September 5.

Oliver Kierans (56) has appeared in court in relation to the murder of his wife Patricia Kierans (54).

 The court heard Kierans told gardai, “I will admit. I'm sorry”, when he was arrested on suspicion of murder following a nine-hour siege at a pub in the town.

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